June 22, 2009

“Race to the Top” in Education Meaningless for Missouri

As Sarah Brodsky pointed out in her post on Friday, Missouri is one of four states so far that have opted not to join the “Race to the Top” education initiative that requires conforming to a national standard. While the governor may be only postponing the decision until a new commissioner of the state’s Department of Education can be consulted, Missouri would do well to avoid participating in this program entirely.

Missouri has higher education standards than do many other states as it is; adopting national standards would simply entail an increased use of standardized tests, resulting in more wasted classroom time. Getting the program started would also require a great deal of additional funding: Texas estimates that it will cost $3 billion to implement.

Adopting a federal standard would be the first step toward relinquishing the state’s constitutionally granted control of its public education system.

Missourians already know what their students should be learning, and have thus far created a fairly rigorous set of statewide standards. And, as it is, fewer than half of Missouri’s students are meeting or exceeding the MAP standards Adopting lower national standards instead would only provide a misleading inflation of achievement metrics.

Why should Missouri surrender its authority to meeet the educational needs of its children simply in order to conform to a national standard that would provide no measurable benefit?

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