Top 10 by 20- Transforming Education in Missouri

A look into the future . . .

The year is 2020. Student performance in the state—in every district and in every school—is among the top 10 states in the nation.

Fully three quarters of our children are proficient on state standards for what we agreed they should know and be able to do.

The number of high school graduates is approaching 100%, and the number of these going on to post-secondary education has doubled in the past decade.

Businesses throughout the country and world are seeking out locations in Missouri because of our reputation for a world-class work force.

Missouri is proud—of its children and of its schools.

Everyone agrees that Missouri public schools are the best choice, and that they produce the best results!

Top 10 by 20The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recently put together an education reform plan for the state and outlines the following four items as its main goals:

  1. Missouri public education will rank in the top ten on national and international measures of performance.
  2. Missouri will provide high quality early educational opportunities to all young children and their families.
  3. Missouri will recruit, prepare, retain, and support effective teachers and leaders.
  4. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will improve departmental efficiency, operational effectiveness, and relations with internal and external customers.

As Dr. Ronald Lankford, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Financial and Administrative Services  at DESE, pointed out at the Missouri Budget Forum on February 11- in Missouri, our performance today matches our geography:  in the middle.  Average is not good enough to drive the progress Missouri citizens expect and deserve.  If Missouri’s students are not among top performers nationally and internationally, they simply will not compete.   He stressed that the work needs to be transformational, not incremental.

The reform plan notes that the key to our success in transforming education in Missouri will reside in our ability to focus on a few goals with a few strategies that are done with precision and fidelity. These few goals will focus on the vision of every child proficient and prepared for success. This vision will be measured by indicators of proficiency, growth and closing gaps among student groups. While visions are great, they have no meaning unless you have measures of progress and accountability for results.  It is this work- and the commitment to everyone- that will get Missouri in the top 10.

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