Lawmakers hear bill to change quality assessment of public schools

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JEFFERSON CITY - A new bill could change the way Missouri public schools assess school quality.

Lawmakers will hear a bill Wednesday that specifies quality indicators that would be used to classify Missouri public schools. The bill would require school district administrators to develop a plan to achieve quality indicators. The plan would then need approval from the school board.

The quality indicators listed in the bill include:

  1. Programs and services that help students come ready to learn
  2. High expectations and standards
  3. Rigorous and comprehensive curricula for all students
  4. Quality conditions for teaching and learning
  5. Qualified staff
  6. Shared responsibility for school oversight at all levels
  7. Parental and community involvement
  8. Fair and efficient use of sources
The bill says the plan should describe the curriculum, institutional approaches, assessments and improvement measures the school will use in order to reach the quality indicators listed above.
MU College of Education professor Noelle Arnold said the bill would leave many decisions to the school districts.
"I am in favor of districts getting to articulate what they want quality to look like," Arnold said.
Arnold also said that, by allowing each district to decide how they are going to articulate those indicators, it could be hard to compare the quality of schools that are not in the same district.
"There is a possibility of setting indicators that would make a district better than another," she said.
The bill would also require that school districts release their achievement plans to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, parents and the community.