Prospects of Education Reform
Joe Knodell, opining in the Springfield News-Leader today, is hopeful about the progress of education reform in the state. Knodell, a former superintendent and current consultant for the Missouri Education Reform Roundtable Foundation, cites the recently passed Missouri Senate Bill 291 as a harbinger of future, serious discussion and action on education reform in Missouri.
S.B. 291 calls for the Joint Committee on Education to study open enrollment and how it would affect students. Were Missouri to adopt a system of open enrollment, families would no longer be confined to schools within their district boundaries and would be permitted to apply to the school districts of their choice. Knodell argues, and I agree, that students deserve schooling based not on arbitrary geographical lines but on where students would be best served. Open enrollment would introduce much-needed competition into the educational system, as schools and their districts fight to attract and retain students. When schools compete, students win.
S.B. 291 contains other stipulations, as well, ranging from support of charter schools to increased school transparency, as well as establishing virtual schools and a parents’ bill of rights — issues that the Show Me Institute has discussed since its inception. It’s heartening to see Missouri shift toward more and more measures that are rooted in competition and choice.