The Results Are in—We Got a C-
The Center for Education Reform’s (CER) Parent Power! Index was just released and Missouri actually improved from a D on the last index to a solid C-. CER created the index in 1999 to measure whether a state has “policies in place that put students ahead of systems,” “values the diversity of need and condition of every family,” “provides accessible information,” and “puts families in charge.” Despite having several school choice programs, Missouri, it seems, falls short on delivery.
In fact, the researchers at CER determined that our governor has “been quiet on the subject of parent power and educational choice.” They also noted that, while school report cards can be found on DESE’s website, they are “not very user-friendly or easy to navigate.” (So apparently, Institute analysts are not the only ones making that claim.) We got a C on our charter school law because it’s only limited to students in a couple of communities. We got D’s on digital and personalized learning, choice programs, and teacher quality.
The Parent Power! Index doesn’t seem to mesh well with the Heritage Foundation’s Education Freedom Index, where we did great on everything but Transparency. The key difference between these two measures is that the CER index examines how Missouri families are actually faring in the education landscape. Do policies as implemented empower parents? What are the governor and state legislature actually doing to put students first and give families the information they need? Meanwhile, the Heritage index is grading how we appear on paper. We’ve got charter schools and a private school choice program. Kudos to us. The fact that 95 percent of Missouri families can’t access this school choice program is just an inconvenient truth.
If Missouri were on a dating app for school choice, our profile would look great. But the first date is going to reveal the truth. There’s very little “there” there.