Missouri Senate Committee Evaluating K-12 Public School Accreditation System

Missouri’s system that verifies and accredits K-12 public schools is under review.

State Senator Karla Eslinger, R-Wasola, chairs the interim Senate Committee on Education. He is holding a public hearing to study Missouri’s school improvement program, known as MSIP.

“We have an opportunity right now in our state because our department of elementary and secondary education decided it was time to see whether or not how we measure performance in our district, if it does or tell the story or be as transparent and we’re as accountable as we can be,” Eslinger said. “What is this new way of accrediting districts? How does DESE decide what is important to measure and what is the accreditation process? Basically what’s going on because it’s the only tool we have in our state that’s used to say, “This is where you need help or this is where you hit the maximum.”

She said there are three things the committee will be focusing on.

“Public opinion – we need to be more transparent. If we have very successful programs, let’s learn from them. If we have programs that are struggling, let’s go ahead and focus and see what’s going on and make sure they’re working well and we’re fixing the shortcomings. Responsibility for our state money — which has to be there and then just the work we all owe to our children — to have the best programs possible,” Eslinger said.

The hearing will only include testimony from K-12 Public Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven and possibly other education department heads.

The job of the committee is to make recommendations to the Legislative Assembly next year.

Eslinger has spent her career in public education, as a teacher, school administrator, assistant commissioner with the Missouri Department of Education, and has worked with the US Department of Education.

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