Missouri State Board of Education Meeting Report (Jan. 10, 2023)

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Notes from the January 10, 2023 meeting of the Missouri State Board of Education
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Agenda, Minutes, and Recordings from January 10, 2023, of the Missouri State Board of Education Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.


Governmental Affairs Update

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The DESE Governmental Affairs team delivered an update from the opening of this legislative session. As of Tuesday, the only major update was that the Senate set committee assignments, of specific interest at DESE is the Education and Workforce Development committee. At the time of this report being written, the House was still establishing rules; House committees, once finalized, will be posted here.

There are twenty bills filed around State Board and DESE priority areas–Early Learning & Early Literacy, Success-Read Students and Workforce Development, Safe and Healthy Schools, and Educator Recruitment and Retention. Further, there are just as many bills filed around teacher recruitment and retention that may or may not align with the Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendations. There has been discussion surrounding merit pay or pay-for-performance but there have been no bills of this nature filed at this time. The Association is starkly against merit pay and pay-for-performance and will be watching for this activity closely. Other bills that are being watched closely include those that focus on CRT, parents bill of rights, trans athlete participation in sports, and school choice. 

All bills relating to education can be found here

Sign up for MNEA’s Legislative Update from Legislative Director, Otto Fajen, here. During session, this listserv receives daily updates on activity at the capital and MNEA’s advocacy. 


Report on Teacher Workforce

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The Office of Educator Quality gives a regular update on teacher workforce so that the Board can review current data to inform policy, discussion, and decisions surrounding teacher retention and recruitment. Based on the most recent numbers, data suggests some positive enrollment in Educator Preparation Programs, but also indicates that certificates granted are not enough to fill current demand. There is a steady number of teachers who have less than 10 years of experience and the demographics of Missouri Educators still need more diversity. 

The current strategies of retention grants, career ladder, and workgroups to explore climate, culture, and working conditions are all in place to improve retention of educators. This spring, there will be a work group that focuses on working climate, culture, and working conditions. A measure of success that the Office of Educator Quality will look towards in terms of recruitment is the enrollment in Educator Preparation Programs.


Report on Upcoming Changes in Literacy Teacher Preparation 

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Read, Lead, Succeed is DESE’s literacy initiative and The Path Forward is the component that focuses on educator preparation. Due to the recent passage of 161.097, RSMo in the summer of 2022, literacy expectations of teacher candidates (Early Childhood through Secondary) must be reviewed and updated. The Early Literacy Fellows are a part of The Path Forward and they have developed goals and guidelines for Educator Preparation Programs to be more specific in their preparation of educators in terms of literacy; the new goals and guidelines are aligned with the science of reading. The specific updates of the Literacy guidelines in Teacher Preparation can be found here.  

Because these adjustments are made to the literacy requirements for various Certification Areas, there are two ways that these updates can accomplished legally: adjust the Missouri Standards for Professional Educators (MoSPE) and change rules in the Missouri Code of State Regulations. To immediately impact the 3,000+ educator prep students today, the Early Literacy Fellows have adjusted MoSPE first so that Educator Preparation Programs can begin working with these new Literacy guidelines for their students. Next month, the office of Educator Quality will come with proposed rule changes. All changes for both rules and MoSPE are outlined here on page 8.


Update on the Office of Childhood

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The Office of Childhood is the newest DESE department and is focused on overseeing childhood care and education in Missouri, which is also one of DESE’s priority areas. The update given to the Board outlined the Office of Childhood’s plan which is organized around four main goals with objectives and key strategies. The ultimate focus for the Office of Childhood is “a strong childhood system is essential to ensuring safe environments and healthy child development, supporting working families, and advancing a prosperous economy (school readiness).” This vision is measured by using the Kindergarten Entry Assessment, which determines a child’s level of school readiness.

The Kindergarten Entry Assessment measures twenty-eight indicators of school readiness and the Office of Childhood has approved three tools for districts to use. Local Education Agencies (LEA) volunteer to use this tool as it is not required at this time; in total, there are 384 districts in Missouri that have reported using one of the three approved tools but there is presently no comprehensive data collection from LEAs for results of this Assessment. Next year, DESE is planning to provide this tool free to LEAs, which will include comprehensive data collection as well. 

In addition to presenting the vision, goals, and strategies, the Office of Childhood indicated their present focus: Childcare Quality Inspectors in the field to ensure quality programs for Early Childhood. 


Annual Report on the Missouri Course Access and Virtual School Program (MOCAP)

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The State Board received a report on the status of the Missouri Course Access and Virtual School Program (MOCAP) in accordance with statute 161.670.10. “MOCAP’s mission is to offer Missouri Students equal access to a wide range of high-quality courses, flexibility in scheduling, and interactive online learning.” DESE and the State Board oversee this program and all related activities. It is important to note that not all online courses in the state of Missouri are MOCAP courses; school districts can design and deploy online learning courses that are not MOCAP courses. 

So far in the 21-22 school year, MOCAP has served 3,831 total students and there have been a total of 26,252 course enrollments. There are fourteen authorized providers for MOCAP courses; a list of these providers can be found on MOCAP’s website. Completion rate—students who complete their course—is at 81% and the combined passing rate—students who completed and passed their courses—is at 74%.

A part of the MOCAP annual report includes the most recent state assessment (MAP and EOC) results available. The results for MOCAP students indicate MAP scores that are lower than the state average; EOC scores are lower but closer to the scores of traditional, in-seat results. However, it is important to note that MOCAP is a small percentage of students in the state of Missouri and the circumstances that brought students to online learning is unknown, making it hard to compare the MOCAP data to the entire state’s MAP and EOC results. 


Other Business

State Board of Education authorized publication in the Missouri Register to amend 5 CSR 20-100.230 (page 19), Virtual Instruction Program, and that the State Board finds the proposed amendment necessary to carry out the purposes of §§ 161.092 and 161.670, RSMo. 

The original purpose of this rule “establishe[d] policies and procedures for public virtual school programs for school-age students, as authorized by 161.670.” The reason for the amendment is to “separate policies and procedures for students who enroll in MOCAP full-time” from students who only enroll in select MOCAP courses. The amendment to the rule removes local education agencies (LEA) approval process for a student if a student is enrolled in MOCAP full-time with a host program (e.g. Launch with Springfield Public Schools, SJSD Virtual Academy with St. Joseph School District, etc.). These amendments to language of 5 CSR 20-100.230 are to comply with state law.

The Association supports the amendments that align with statute as they are all best practices in terms of virtual education. Further, it is stated in MNEA Resolutions (A-7), that virtual education should “include a process for enrollment…provide all services required to ensure a free and appropriate public education…require that teachers be licensed in the subject matter taught…and incorporate public accountability that includes annual evaluations and reviews of the programs.” All these matters in both statutes and MNEA resolutions are supported by research.

The State Board approved this publication and requested that comments posted come back for their review divided into categories of what the statute indicates can or cannot be done. Summary and rationale behind proposed changes from DESE can be found here

Earlier this year, the Board authorized DESE to grant certificates to educator candidates who scored within 1 SEM below the qualifying score of various certification area exams. The Board heard and discussed the same adjustment for the remaining certification areas–Elementary Mathematics Specialist, Library Media Specialist, Counselor, Building-Level Administrator, and Superintendent. 

It is important to note that this recommendation is not lowering the cut score for granting certification; it is slightly opening the window to account for errors in the test itself. All teacher candidates still must maintain a GPA of 3.0 and, for some, up to 50 hours in content classes. This adjustment falls in line with not only best-practice but also the Association’s resolutions (G-3).

The next meeting of the Missouri State Board of Education will be held on February 7, 2023. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Samantha Hayes or Rebeka McIntosh at 800-392-0236 or email: Samantha.Hayes@mnea.org or Rebeka.McIntosh@mnea.org. Details of state board agenda items can be found here and a podcast of the report can be found here.

Respectfully submitted,
Rebeka McIntosh, MNEA vice president
Samantha Hayes, MNEA teaching and learning director

Find past reports at mnea.org/stateboard