State Board of Education Starts Long-Term Planning in Unaccredited Districts


Today the State Board of Education approved the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s recommendation of developing a plan to direct the transformation of failing school districts in the state. The Department issued an invitation for bid last month for comprehensive analyses of school system challenges in unaccredited districts with the aim of developing strategies that will deliver dramatic improvement in student performance.

“All children in Missouri deserve access to a high quality education,” said Chris L. Nicastro, commissioner of education at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. “The state and the local communities need to act together in a comprehensive, systemic way to transform unaccredited districts for sustained improvement that prepares every child in Missouri for success after graduation.”

The Department is considering options to address chronic under-performance in Kansas City, Riverview Gardens, Normandy and other struggling school districts in the state. To act effectively, the state needs an intensive, broad analysis of the school systems’ challenges, focusing on contributing factors such as governance, educator quality, and operational practices and policies.

The Department issued an invitation for bid last month and has selected CEE-Trust (the Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust) to conduct the analysis in the Kansas City Public Schools. They will provide recommendations for state action to transform district policies, practices, systems, and governance (where deemed necessary) in ways that carry the potential to lead to dramatically improved student outcomes that are sustained over time. CEE-Trust is one of the nation’s leading experts on city-focused education reform strategies, and leads a network of 33 independent education reform organizations in 26 cities across the country. Their work will include a review of the conditions that enable high performing urban schools in Missouri and across the country and will culminate in a report containing recommendations for the transformation of educational services for the children of Kansas City that can be adapted for other struggling districts across the state.