CONTACT:  JIM MORRIS
Director, Public Information
573-751-3469

Vol. 44, No. 2

January 14, 2010

 “Quality Counts” Report Underscores Importance of

 Race to the Top, Commissioner Nicastro Says

Although Missouri earned mostly “C’s” on a new national report card about education, Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro believes that Missouri has a golden opportunity to make significant gains by taking advantage of the federal Race to the Top initiative.    

The annual “Quality Counts” report, published today by Education Week, evaluates issues and emerging trends in American education and rates each state’s overall performance based on a huge compilation of statistics and other information. 

The nation as a whole earned an overall “C” grade, and Missouri received a C-minus in the report issued today. 

“Our goal is for Missouri to move into the top tier of states in performance by our public schools.  There is no reason for us to be satisfied with C-level performance.  Our students, parents and taxpayers deserve better,” Nicastro said. 

The federal Race to the Top initiative, a new – and highly competitive – $4.3 billion grant program, is challenging states to develop ambitious school-improvement proposals.  Nicastro says the Race to the Top effort can be a springboard to help Missouri move ahead faster than other states.

“Through the Race to the Top effort, we are working on a variety of initiatives related to academic standards, teacher training and support, turning around low-performing schools and using data more effectively – all of which, I believe, will translate into a much better report card for Missouri in the future,” Nicastro said. 

In the latest Quality Counts report, Missouri earned grades of B-minus in the category of Standards, Assessment and Accountability; a C-plus on the index called Chance for Success; a C for The Teaching Profession; and a C-minus in School Finance. Combining the scores in all of these categories, the report gave Missouri an overall C-minus rating – the same as last year.