Brittany WagnerMichael Q. McShane

A high-school diploma is widely considered to be the most fundamental requirement for admission to college or a chance at a good job. And so it should be—but what’s behind that diploma matters, too. Statistics from ACT show that only 30 percent of the class of 2015 scored "college ready" in all four tested subjects. Much of the problem appears to be a gap between the coursework these students complete to earn their high-school diplomas and the work required for their college classes. Here Missouri faces a problem that doesn’t afflict more densely populated states: we have many small, rural school districts that don’t have the means to offer advanced math and science courses for college-bound students—or cutting-edge career or technical education classes for students who want to enter the workforce immediately after graduating—especially if relatively few students are interested in taking them.

We can’t do a lot about our state’s geography, but neither can we accept limitations on the educational options available to students in smaller school districts. We need a way to bring advanced-level coursework to every Missouri student who wants it. An innovative program called course access offers a possible solution to this problem, and it’s the topic of an essay by the Show-Me Institute’s Brittany Wagner and Michael McShane. To find out more, click on the link below and read the essay.


About the Author

Brittany Wagner
Education Policy Research Assistant

Brittany Wagner was an education policy research assistant at the Show-Me Institute.

Michael McShane
Senior Fellow of Education Policy

Mike McShane is Senior Fellow of Education Policy for the Show-Me Institute. He is a former high school teacher and earned his PhD in Education Policy at the University of Arkansas. Before coming to the Show-Me Institute, Mike worked at the American Enterprise Institute as a research fellow.