Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Op-Ed: Need Education Reform to Move Missouri Forward

In today's Springfield News Leader, Joe Knodell, a retired superintendent and a consultant for the Missouri Education Reform Roundtable Foundation, spells out the need for education reform and gives praise to the big steps taken in this past legislative session. He feels the 2009 session will hopefully be the beginning of education reform ideas to become reality. Missouri falls behind the other states in several educational testing areas, and this evidence may be the reason legislators are finally trying to change.

The best indicator that the legislature is ready to act was the passage in the last session of Senate Bill 291. Among other things, the bill calls for a study on open enrollment by the Joint Committee on Education. SB 291 also included measures involving charter schools, teaching standards, transparency, virtual schools and a parents' bill of rights . All should move us in the right direction.

Sen. Rob Mayer of Dexter introduced a bill on open enrollment that received a considerable amount of support in the Senate. But senators decided to study the matter first and reconsider the matter next year. Sen. Mayer, who is chairman of the Senate Education Committee, should be commended for his forward thinking.

We live in a world where kids know more about technology than most adults and many teachers. We cannot continue to educate children the way we were educated years ago. We must use the technology that is available and encourage talented people to become teachers. A well- educated work force is the key to prosperity. Kudos to our legislators who grasp this fact.

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