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Common Core, District Accreditation Topics Of Debate When Lawmakers Return


Missouri legislators don’t return to Jefferson City for another month, but two bills that would make big changes to education in the state already have been filed.

One would drastically change the way school districts are accredited and another would stir the controversy around Common Core standards.

Rep. David Wood, a Republican from Versailles in mid-Missouri, pre-filed abill that would require the state to accredit individual schools rather than entire districts.

In Missouri, districts are either accredited, unaccredited or, like Kansas City, provisionally accredited.

Wood says his bill would keep both money and successful students in struggling districts.

“We want to keep them in the district and close to home where they’re familiar with their community first and then the other options can come later,” he says.

Students in unaccredited districts can transfer to other districts. The unaccredited district loses the state per-pupil allocation and must pay transportation costs.

Wood has also pre-filed abill on who should write new academic standards. Missouri schools are using the same expectations as 42 other states, known as Common Core.

Common Core is controversial in almost any state but a little more so in Missouri.

Many conservatives want to dump Common Core altogether.

Wood  says his bill would require any  standardized test to be written by a state university rather than Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, the private testing company the state partners with now.

“I feel that’s a check that’s written outside the state of Missouri that we can take care of that test inside the state of Missouri and we can keep our money here and support a university,” he says.

The University of Missouri already has expressed interest in writing the test.

The University of Kansas is writing the Common Core test in Kansas.

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