Reimagining Education

Why Missouri students need choice

Earlier this year news agencies were flooded with headlines about how well Missouri schools were doing after the state released its annual APR and MAP scores.

Based on the headlines, it looked like Missouri students had access to the quality schools they needed.

But while everyone was celebrating their APR success, most news agencies missed two new lists that highlight just how much some of the students need better options.

Under the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is required to identify both the worst performing schools in the state (called comprehensive support and improvement schools under ESSA) and schools which have persistently underperforming subgroups (called targeted support and intervention schools under ESSA).

In the coming weeks we will take a deeper dive into the information available for these schools, but here are some quick facts:

Comprehensive schools

  • The list of comprehensive schools identifies the worst performing 5 percent of Title I schools
  • The list contains 63 schools with about half being in the St. Louis region
  • This is not a comprehensive list of poorly performing schools, only a collection of the worst 5 percent
  • There are 33 schools where more than 90 percent of the students are not proficient at math
  • There are 9 schools were more than 90 percent of the students are not proficient at ELA

Target schools

  • Target schools are identified when any subgroup is consistently underperforming
  • There are 335, or 15 percent of Missouri schools, that have been identified as targeted
  • That means 15 percent of schools consistently underperform when serving subgroups which can include students who are economically disadvantaged, students from major racial and ethnic groups, students with disabilities, and English learners

Check back next week for a more detailed breakdown of where the comprehensive schools are, which ones have the worst test scores, and how the state plans to improve them.

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