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Mo. State Education Board Expands Oversight Of Failing Schools; Talks MAP Scores

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri State Board of Education voted Tuesday to increase oversight of the state's unaccredited school districts.

The vote came a week before a new state law takes effect that will allow Missouri to move more quickly towards taking over unaccredited school districts.  Education Commissioner ChrisNicastro says state officials will soon begin to heighten their presence in those districts.

"Instead of doing it twice a month, maybe they need to do it three times a month," Nicastro told reporters.  "I think (that it would) mean increased interaction with district personnel, increased visits to classrooms, increased interaction and maybe attendance at (local school) board meetings."

Three school districts in Missouri are currently unaccredited – Kansas City, and two districts in St. Louis County, Normandy and Riverview Gardens.  St. Louis city schools regained provisional accreditation last year.

Meanwhile, the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) has released its annual report on student achievement in the state's classrooms, and the results show great improvement in science and a slight drop in math.  First, the number of students scoring at the proficient or advanced level in science jumped from 52.2 percent last year to 59.1 percent this year.  Math scores, however, dropped slightly from 55.5 percent last year to 53.9 percent this year, while communication arts held steady at 55.6 percent.

"We'd love to see more improvement," Nicastro said.  "We've been amazingly steady, I guess that's a good thing in some areas, but when it comes to measuring student performance it's not such a good thing -- it's better than going down, but we would like to see bigger increases."

The full statewide report can be viewed here.  Meanwhile, MAP scores for individual school districts will be made public Friday.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.