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Communications Coordinator
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Vol. 45, No. 21

March 16, 2011

State Board of Education Proposes Higher Standards

The State Board of Education gave preliminary approval today to new standards for accrediting Missouri’s public schools. The revised policy will go into effect two years after adoption of the proposed standards.

Missouri’s standards for its schools have been reviewed and revised over time to reflect changing conditions, as well as changing demands of citizens and school patrons, state education officials said.

“We cannot be successful if we continue to use the same standards as we have in past generations, said State Board President Peter Herschend. “We believe the rigorous new standards will help all students be ready for success in college and careers by the time they graduate from high school.”

Some of the criteria did not change, but others were made more specific or rigorous to drive improvement in student achievement. The proposed policy also includes reporting data about early childhood programs, successful progression through high school and postsecondary education, and the rate of remedial coursework in college.

“The Board is dedicated to promoting continuous improvement within each school district across the state,” said Herschend. “This system allows districts to get credit for incremental improvement.”

The State Board first established standards for the classification and accreditation of Missouri’s school districts in 1950. The process of classifying and accrediting school districts took on greater significance in 1990 when the State Board adopted new classification standards to be implemented through the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP). This will be the fifth revision of the standards, also known as “MSIP 5.”

Over the past two years, state education officials researched effective practices of leading states and received input from State Board members and stakeholders to develop the new proposed standards. More than 600 comments were received and considered in the process of writing the regulation.

Department staff held four in-depth work sessions with the State Board to work through the details that will help drive improvement and get Missouri to be among the top 10 states by the year 2020.

A formal public-comment period will begin April 15 when the proposed rule is published in the Missouri Register. The Department will collect comments for 30 days before the State Board considers final approval.