Education - Testimony
Fix Transfers, Expand Choice Print E-mail
By James V. Shuls, Ph.D.   
Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Ever since the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a student’s right to transfer from an unaccredited school district to a nearby accredited one, Missouri school leaders have coordinated efforts to put an end to the transfer law. Some of the concerns regarding the transfer program hold merit. For instance, the current law has the potential to lead to the bankruptcy of unaccredited districts or to lead to overcrowding in accredited ones. Unfortunately, these problems have led many to ask, “How can we end student transfers?” rather than, “How can we make the transfer law work for students?”

 
Reclaiming Local Control Of Education: Missouri House Bill 1490 Print E-mail
By James V. Shuls, Ph.D.   
Thursday, February 20, 2014

Standards undergird everything in education. By adopting Common Core, Missouri has ushered in an era of greater centralized control of our education system. House Bill 1490 will allow Missourians to reclaim that control.

 
School Transfers: The Answer Is More Choice, Not Less Print E-mail
By James V. Shuls, Ph.D.   
Monday, September 23, 2013

The purpose behind the school transfer law is clear: students should not be trapped in failing schools. The implementation of the law, however, has created much consternation and concern about the ramifications the law will have.

 
Senate Bill 408: Balancing Good Policy with Local Control Print E-mail
By James V. Shuls, Ph.D.   
Wednesday, April 03, 2013

One of the tough jobs of the legislature is developing good policy while still providing individuals with the maximum amount of freedom. This is especially difficult in education. Yet this is exactly what Senate Bill 408 accomplishes. The proposed legislation would provide school districts with guidelines on several important issues, but would allow the local school district to ultimately determine the exact policies. Here I will highlight a few of these proposed changes and suggest why the language in Senate Bill 408 provides that healthy balance.

 
Missouri Should Avoid Implementation of the Common Core Print E-mail
By James V. Shuls, Ph.D.   
Tuesday, March 05, 2013

First, I will discuss the arguments that supposedly support adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and demonstrate why these arguments are vacuous. Moreover, I will demonstrate that if the real objective of CCSS is the centralized planning of education standards, then the CCSS do not go far enough. Next, I will offer what I suggest will be the real impact of implementing the CCSS.

 
Teacher Quality Matters, So Do State Regulations Print E-mail
By James V. Shuls, Ph.D.   
Wednesday, February 06, 2013

In recent years, researchers have been making clear what parents have known all along: teacher quality matters. As President Barack Obama said in a town hall meeting right here in Missouri, the “single most important factor in the classroom is the quality of the person standing at the front of the classroom.” On this matter, the president is correct. He expanded on this point in his 2012 State of the Union address: “We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000. A great teacher can offer an escape from poverty to the child who dreams beyond his circumstance.” The president was citing one of the most important and impressive studies of teacher effectiveness, where researchers were able to link tax records to student achievement of more than 2.5 million children. The authors found significant relationships between a teacher’s ability to improve student achievement and their students’ outcomes later in life. Students with highly effective teachers were “more likely to attend college, attend higher-ranked colleges, earn higher salaries, live in higher [socioeconomic status] neighborhoods, and save for retirement.” Moreover, students with great teachers were less likely to have children as teenagers. The effect of being in a top 5 percent teacher’s classroom is money in the bank, increasing an individual’s lifetime earnings by $50,000.

 
Children Trapped in Failing Schools Need Help Print E-mail
By Audrey Spalding   
Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It is my opinion that the Parent Empowerment and Choice Act would expand educational choice in Missouri. Research has found that increased educational choice is good for students and good for traditional public schools. When funding limits are imposed, such as the 75-percent cap proposed in this legislation, expanded school choice can even help reduce state expenditures. I applaud your efforts to consider legislation that would empower parents to seek the best forms of education for their children.

 


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