Top 10 by 20 education plan is updated despite some opposition

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JEFFERSON CITY - The State Board of Education approved the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (DESE) Top 10 by 20 plan Tuesday night. The statewide improvement plan launched in 2009 and aims for student achievement in Missouri to rank among the top 10 states by the year 2020 and is updated annually.

DESE said it has already seen improvement since 2009 and has high hopes for the plan.

"We have gotten better. Proficiency rates have improved since we first started tracking and graduation rates have improved. The problem is every other state is improving right along with us. Graduation rates are improving all over the country," said DESE spokeswoman Sarah Potter. 

Some Missourians however are concerned that the plan doesn't cater to specific needs.

"It's very very cookie cutter, no personalization to education, and I think we are losing a lot for our children with it," said former school board member Cindy Graves. Graves is also the mother of a current Missouri teacher and grandmother of five.

The plan has many aspects to it, but it all focuses on four main objectives. The explanation of each goal is described on DESE's website as follows:

1. All Missouri students will graduate college and career ready
OBJECTIVE 1: The percentage of students:
A.Scoring at or above proficient level on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) will increase by 1 percentage point at each test administration.
B.Scoring at or above proficient level on state assessments will increase each year to exceed 75% of students in all subgroups by 2020.
C.Scoring at or above the mean of the top 10 states on college and career ready assessments (e.g. ACT, SAT, COMPASS, ASVAB, TSA) will increase annually.

2. All Missouri children will enter kindergarten prepared to be successful in school
A.The percentage of young children (birth to kindergarten entry) who receive developmental and health screenings will increase by 2% annually.
B.The number of parent education visits to families with young children will increase by 2% annually.
C.The number of parent education visits to high needs families of young children will increase by 2% annually.
OBJECTIVE 2: The percentage of early childhood programs for Missouri's infants, toddlers and preschoolers that meet established quality standards will increase by 2% annually.

3. Missouri will prepare, develop and support effective educators
OBJECTIVE 1: By 2020, all candidates completing preparation programs will be highly effective as defined by a uniform set of performance data points.
OBJECTIVE 2: By 2020, all educators will be highly effective.

4. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will improve departmental efficiency and operational effectiveness
OBJECTIVE 1: Annually 90% of the Top 10x20 plan targets will meet or exceed process and progress measures