Sunday, October 12, 2008

Missouri's Education...Worse than I Thought

As a mother of young children, it is impossible for me to stay away from the depressing news of the failures of many of Missouri schools. Being that my children are not yet in school, I may be a little naive on all the facts. I am sure, like many other parents, reading about the lack of education in some of the bigger cities brings a sense of sadness for all those parents. Yet, not living there, I have felt a little secure in my bubble outside the cities. Even though I have always known things could be better here, I never knew how bad they really were. Reading the Missouri Policitical News Service, I came across an op-ed written by Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield, titled "Who Needs Help; K-12 Education in Missouri". Some new facts that may surprise you are: Fact: Most minority students do not go to school in the metro areas. Only 30% of black students go to school in St. Louis or Kansas City. Fact: Most poor performing minority students do not live in Metro areas. 67% of black students testing basic or below go to school outside Kansas City and St. Louis City. Fact: A small percentage of poor performers live in metro areas. Only 10% of all students testing basic or below go to school in Kansas City and St. Louis. Fact: Most poor performing students don’t live in metro areas and are white. Almost 70% of children testing basic or below and living outside St. Louis and Kansas City are white. What does this data mean? That solving the minority, metro problem will only affect less than 6% of students in Missouri. Solving the education problem will require an expanded focus on all schools from the bad to the great. Many minority children do poorly outside the metro areas. Almost half of white students need help. So much emphasis has been placed on the metro areas and not enough on areas outside the cities. While I know it is important for those cities to improve, I also agree with Dr. Sinquefield that the entire state needs improvement. This news definitely gives me the feeling my little bubble has popped and I hope, for the sake of my children and the rest of the children, things are done to improve education for all.

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