"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Missouri Legislators Set to Introduce Legislation and Hear Pitch about School Choice during "School Choice Week"

Along with the private legislative screening of "Waiting for Superman" at 6:00 on Monday, January 24 in Jefferson City, here's an additional meeting for legislators interested in education reform:

Organizer:Earl Simms
Event Type:National School Choice Week Event
Location: 65109
When:Monday, Jan 24 02:00PM
Duration:30 Minutes



Lt. Governor Peter Kinder

House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones

House Education Committee Chair Scott Dieckhaus

House Assistant Minority Floor Leader Tishaura Jones

State Representative Dwight Scharnhorst

State Representative Cole McNary

Bi- partisan group of State Senators and Representatives


Monday, January 24, 2011 at 2 p.m.


House Lounge, 3rd Floor
State Capitol Building, Jefferson City

Several Missouri state legislators will address legislation regarding education reform. The bills being introduced in the Missouri state legislature are set to coincide with National School Choice Week, which is being held January 23-29, 2011.

The Children’s Education Council of Missouri (CECM) is the state’s leading advocate for education reform. CECM is a not-for-profit organization that supports individualized learning opportunities for all children through issue resolution, community education and civic engagement. For more information, visit www.cec-mo.org.

This information is from the School Choice website and note you can also register for the event on the site. The legislative event is being sponsored by The Children's Education Council of Missouri (CECM). The organization is supportive of these reforms:

  • increasing transparency and accountability in the education system
  • increasing teacher merit pay
  • improving the teacher certification process
  • increasing parental choice
  • expanding charter public schools
  • increasing support of special needs education through scholarship and tax credit programs
We assume these would be some of the items discussed with the legislators in Monday's meeting on January 24. These reforms seem as if they represent a direction toward a new educational landscape in Missouri.

We ask the legislators to think through the reforms proposed by the organization and School Choice Week once they hear from the groups and ask the questions: Do these reforms promote state sovereignty and reduce spending? Do these plans take the first step to addressing the basic problems of education, such as the practice of "teaching to the test" because of the assessments produced to be compliant to "No Child Left Behind" and now Common Core standards?

We ask the legislators to connect the dots. Charter schools and vouchers and tax credits may be some valid solutions to our educational problems, but if we are using these vehicles to promote "school choice", the lawmakers need to look at the "choice" we are offering parents.

If the "choice" is a school choice that includes the same standards and assessments (common core standards adopted by the State Board of Education) developed by a consortium of states to satisfy a non-Missouri panel's mandates, then that's not a true choice. And if the "choice" plunges the state and districts further into debt (by adopting curriculum and assessments and a new data system as required by common core standards), that's not financially sustainable or advisable choice for taxpayers.

Think of this educational "choice" as a recipe. It's as if you are baking a cake. You pick out what cake you want to bake. You assemble your ingredients. If some of your ingredients have spoiled or you don't have all the ingredients and can't get to the store for the ones you need and/or you don't have the money to buy them, you look for a recipe for which you can make. It might not be your first choice to bake, but it is all you can afford at this time.

The "cake" the legislators are trying to bake includes the adoption of common core standards. We can't afford them financially or from a sovereignty standpoint. We don't have the resources to make that cake and they take away the state's right to set its own educational standards. The recipes offered by School Choice Week may look intriguing, but they need to be closely scrutinized. Recipes that just change ingredients but leave you with the same basic cake is not what taxpayers and parents are demanding. They don't want the same cake on a different plate called by a different name.

If the Legislature refuses to fund the implementation of common core standards (for ALL schools), restores autonomy of standards and assessments, and require charters to be locally owned and board staffed, then the Legislature would be on a good start of offering innovation, parental and local control. This is how we envision true school choice. This would be a good foundation of true school reform and choice from which to begin crafting legislation.

We ask the legislators making important educational decisions to ponder these questions as they listen to these groups. Do we have all the ingredients to make a cake worth consuming or do we study and create other recipes for another cake?

1 comment:

  1. I didn't see the Public on that guest list...


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