The Status of Missouri Public Schools


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Slides created by the Missouri Public School Advocates (MPSA) to inform the public about the state of the public schools in Missouri, including information on graduation rates, ACT scores, education funding, teacher salaries, and much more, as well as how Missouri compares to other states. Find out more about MPSA at

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  • In the 19th Century, Horace Mann declared that the Public School is the greatest discovery made by man. At Missouri Public School Advocates (MPSA), we believe that. We believe the Public School is the institution which has done the most to make our nation great. The Public School has provided an opportunity for every child to acquire an education and to become a productive and self-supporting human being.
  • We, also, believe that our State Constitution places a high priority on the Public Schools and makes the state responsible for providing adequate funding to support ONE FREE UNIVERSAL K-12 SCHOOL SYSTEM which is accessible by all children.Note that the constitution specifies that the second priority for making state appropriations is for the purpose of PUBLIC education. Connective script with no slideDespite all the criticism directed at the Public Schools, there can be little doubt that America’s Public Schools are performing better than at any previous time in our nation’s history.
  • We are currently educating more kids than ever before. In Missouri, high school graduation rates have continued to rise over the last two decades form 75.3 percent in 1994 to 80.1 percent in 2000 and all the way up to 88.2 percent in 2012. Those increased graduation rates correspond to increases in the number of students graduating from 46,381 in 1994 to 54,115 in 2000 to well over 60,000 in the last few years.
  • Public college enrollments have increased dramatically as well. In the first decade of the 21st century, total Public College fall enrollments in Missouri increased by 17.6 percent from 2005 to 2010 and by a whopping 27.1 percent from 2000 to 2010
  • And with the enrollment increases, of course, the number of degrees granted by Missouri public colleges have jumped up.
  • We hear a great deal about high school dropout rates and there is no question that we need to work to lower the dropout rate. Comparatively, however, in Missouri, there is good news here, also, as the high school dropout rate has decreased steadily and significantly over the past twenty years from 6.5 percent in 1991 to 4.5 percent in 2000 to 3.5 percent in 2010 to 2.96 percent in 2012.
  • And average ACT scores for Missouri students increased from 20.9 in 1990 to 21.6 in 2000 and have continued at that level ever since despite steady increases in the percentage of high school students who are taking the test. In 2012, 75 percent (3 out of every 4) of all eligible Missouri high school students took the ACT which is a record number. In sharp contrast, only an average of 52 percent of eligible students took the ACT test across the country and the average composite score nationally was 21.1
  • And on NAEP scores, Missouri kids more than hold their own. In grades 4 and 8, in four basic subjects, our kids scored either average or above compared to other states.
  • There were no writing tests administered to Grade 4 students in 2011-2012. Connective script with no slideAlthough Missouri Public Schools have been improving their performance in recent decades, they are now faced with a funding crisis that threatens to roll back those gains, a crisis sponsored by private interests who, challenge Horace Mann, Thomas Jefferson and Sandra Day O’Connor’s assertions and, indeed, yours and mine, about the importance of the Public School and what it has meant and still means to the masses in this country. A few facts to illustrate:
  • The new State Foundation Formula created in 2005 with funding to be phased in over the next seven years will be underfunded by an estimated 640 million dollars for the current school year.
  • Over the last five years, the General Assembly has reduced school transportation funding by 40 percent. These cuts must be replaced by dollars used to fund other important school programs.
  • In FY12, the General Assembly totally defunded and eliminated the Career Ladder Program which was used by many rural districts to enhance teacher salaries and attract high quality teaching recruits to their classrooms.
  • Since FY2009, over half of the funding for Missouri’s nationally recognized Parents as Teachers Program has been stripped away meaning that many more pre-school youngsters will arrive at the schoolhouse without the readiness skills they need to be successful in the classroom.
  • If you add up all of the program cuts and underfunding of the School Foundation Formula for the past few years, including elimination of all state funding earmarked for Professional Development (keeping up with best practices in student instruction), it comes to a whopping total of 770 million dollars or more than three-fourths of a billion dollars. It can only make you wonder, What are they thinking?” or “Why?”
  • And, perhaps, most telling regarding the attitude in Jefferson City regarding our Public Schools, “How are we paying our teachers?” Well, see for yourselves, we are right at the bottom of the roll call of the states. One year, recently, we were below Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama and, basically, paying our teachers 10,000 per person less than the national average.Of course, this raises the potent question of “In Missouri, who’s going to teach our kids?”
  • To say the Missouri General Assembly has dropped the ball in supporting our Public Schools doesn’t capture what is occurring “Failing miserably” is a much more apt description. The figures in this slide tell it all. Public education funding in Missouri is not a priority at all.
  • Conversely, the percentage of Public School funding coming from local school districts continues to rise and places our State Rank in that regard among the highest group of states. In other words, the refusal of the Missouri General Assembly to take their constitutional responsibility for funding our Public Schools and the delegation of that responsibility to local school districts has forced property tax increases to fund the Public Schools.
  • Don’t misconstrue that fact, however, about increased Property Taxes to think that we are a high property tax state. We have consistently ranked fairly low among the states in Property Tax collections, as well. Missouri is a low tax state, low in state income tax, average in state sales tax, low in business taxes, and low in property taxes. That fact is what makes corporate interests efforts to drive taxes even lower so illogical and unreasonable.
  • Many citizens throughout the state of Missouri see the billboards and hear the coffee house talk about how much money the Public Schools are receiving from State Lottery Proceeds and Riverboat Gaming Monies and feel like the Public Schools are being well provided for financially. They don't realize what a truly large business the operation of Missouri's 523 Public School Districts has become.  This slide clearly shows that Lottery Proceeds and Riverboat Gaming Monies while a significant resource for Missouri Public Schools only provide a very small part of the total funds necessary to operate those schools.
  • What about funding for Higher Education? The General Assembly has done even worse in that regard. Look at these numbers. Take a good look. It is hard to believe that total appropriations over the past twelve years for Missouri’s four year universities has actually declined by some 85 million dollars.
  • These appropriations numbers make it easy to understand why tuition costs in Missouri’s four year Public institutions have increased nearly 100 percent over the last decade and by two-thirds in Missouri’s two year Public institutions.
  • Because of 1) great concern about the lack of State Support for the Public Schools, and thereby, the threat to maintaining the quality of the Public School programs 2) consistent efforts by corporations, wealthy individuals, and state legislators to dismantle Public School programs and promote the privatization of K-12 education in Missouri, and 3) the lack of awareness by the general public about what is occurring at the state level regarding our Public Schools, the Missouri Public School Advocates association was formed.Our mission, as you can see, is simply to ensure the stability and strength of Missouri Public Schools.
  • Read goals… make whatever comments necessary.
  • Read goals… make whatever comments necessary.
  • Read goals… make whatever comments necessary.
  • MPSA is non-partisan. We support candidates who support the Public Schools, period!
  • If you agree with our belief that the Public School is one of our most important institutions, we invite you to join our efforts and become a member of MPSA. All of our funding comes from Membership Contributions. We need your help to tell the Public School Story.
  • We currently have well over 400 MPSA members scattered throughout the state. When that number reaches 4,000 and then 40,000, MPSA will have a strong voice in creating Missouri education policy.
  • By joining the Missouri Public School Advocates, you are (read from the screen)MPSA is a 501(c)(4) non-profit, non-partisan organization. Your contributions are not tax deductible.
  • Speaks for itself (read from the screen)
  • The officers of the MPSA Board of Directors (read names and titles…)
  • The MPSA Board has 11 additional members making a total of 15. Each of these board members has made a strong contribution to Missouri Public Schools and is dedicated to carrying out our mission and goals.
  • You can join MPSA either by filling out the Membership form in the brochure and mailing it in or by going to the MPSA Website at and using PayPal.Supporting Memberships start at $10Sustaining Memberships start at $100Founding Memberships start at $1,000
  • Help us by joining MPSA, so that MPSA can tell the story of the public schools.
  • The Status of Missouri Public Schools

    1. 1. “The public school is the greatest discovery made by man.” - Horace Mann
    2. 2. ARTICLE III CONSTITUTION OF MISSOURI LIMITATION OF LEGISLATIVE POWER Section 36. Payment of state revenues and receipts to treasury—limitation of withdrawals to appropriations—order of appropriations ------------ All appropriations of money by successive general assemblies shall be made in the following order: First: For payment of sinking fund and interest on outstanding obligations of the state. Second: For the purpose of public education.
    3. 3. High School Graduation Rates *Source: Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)
    4. 4. Missouri Public College Enrollment Year Total Fall Enrollments 2000 201,509 2005 217,722 2010 *Source: DESE 17.6% Increase 256,119 27.1% Increase
    5. 5. Missouri Public College Degrees Granted Year Number of Degrees 2000 30,050 2005 35,413 2010 40,289 *Source: Department of Higher Education
    6. 6. High School Dropout Rate *Source: DESE
    7. 7. ACT Scores Year MO Avg. U.S. Avg. Score Score MO % U.S. % Taking Taking 1990 20.9 1994 21.2 20.8 64% 36% 2000 21.6 21.0 69% 38% 2010 21.6 21.0 69% 47% 2012 21.6 21.1 75% 52% *Source: ACT
    8. 8. National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) Scores for Grade 8 Students in 2011-2012 Subject U.S. MO Avg. State Avg. Score Score Rank Reading 264 267 15th Mathematics 283 282 26th Science 151 156 14th Writing 154 153 27th (Data from 2007) *Source: National Center of Education Statistics
    9. 9. National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) Scores for Grade 4 Students in 2011-2012 Subject U.S. MO Avg. Avg. Score Score State Rank Reading 220 220 26th Mathematics 240 240 25th Science 149 156 19th Writing N/A N/A N/A (Not given at this level) *Source: National Center of Education Statistics
    10. 10. State Foundation Formula Underfunded for 2013-2014 By $640 million *Source: Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA)
    11. 11. Transportation Funding Year State Appropriation FY ‘09 $168 million FY ‘14 $100 million 40% Reduction *Source: Missouri State Budget
    12. 12. In FY ‘12 all Career Ladder Program Funding Eliminated Loss of $37 Million *Source: MASA
    13. 13. Parents as Teachers Since FY ’09, program funding reduced from $34 million to $15 million. Loss of $19 million Or 56 percent *Source: Missouri State Budget
    14. 14. Total Underfunding and/or Cuts over Past 5 Years Item Foundation Formula Underfunding/Cuts $640 million Student Transportation $68 million Career Ladder $37 million Parents as Teachers $19 million RPDCs TOTAL *Source: Missouri State Budget $6 million $770 million
    15. 15. Teacher Salaries Year National Avg. State Avg. State Rank 2008-09 $54,319 $44,249 47th 2009-10 $55,202 $45,317 49th 2010-11 $55,623 $45,321 46th 2011-12 $55,418 $46,406 43rd *Source: National Education Association
    16. 16. Percentage of Public School Funding Coming from the State *Source: National Education Association
    17. 17. Percentage of Public School Funding Coming from Local Districts *Source: National Education Association
    18. 18. Per Capita Property Taxes Year National Avg. Missouri Rank 2007 $1,228 $890 37th 2008 $1,306 $922 36th 2009 $1,339 $917 37th 2010 $1,383 $953 37th *Source: National Education Association
    19. 19. Lottery and Riverboat Gaming Monies Appropriated for the Public Schools in FY’ 14 *Source: DESE
    20. 20. Higher Education Appropriations for 4-year Universities *Source: Missouri Department of Higher Education
    21. 21. Tuition Cost Comparisons Four-Year Institutions Year Annual Tuition Cost 2000 $3,597 2011 $7,033 95% Increase Two-Year Institutions Year Annual Tuition Cost 2000 $2,226 2011 $3,733 *Source: Missouri Budget Project 67% Increase
    22. 22. Missouri Public School Advocates (MPSA) is a non-profit and nonpartisan association whose mission is to ensure the stability and strength of Missouri Public Schools, Colleges and Universities.
    23. 23. Our Goals Are: • To educate the general public about the importance and achievements of the public schools. • To vigorously promote the state’s responsibility for supporting public schools.
    24. 24. Goals (Cont.): • To assist in securing adequate resources for the public schools. • To be active in the process of determining the best state policies for the operation and administration of the public schools.
    25. 25. Goals (Cont.): • To assist in retaining the present teaching and administrative force employed by the public schools. • To assist in recruiting the brightest and best students to become teachers and administrators in the public schools.
    26. 26. What political affiliation does MPSA have? Answer: None! We support organizations and candidates who support the public schools, period.
    27. 27. How is MPSA funded? Answer: Funding for MPSA has come entirely through membership contributions by individuals and businesses throughout the state. We plan to secure additional contributions from foundations, corporate leaders and resourceful individuals interested in stabilizing and strengthening support for Missouri Public Schools. A complete list of MPSA members can be found on the MPSA website:
    28. 28. What are the benefits of joining MPSA? Answer: Your MPSA membership will help do the following: • Ensure that the public schools have a strong voice speaking out on their behalf. • Unite public school supporters from throughout Missouri under an inclusive umbrella which will provide real political clout. • Support candidates for the Missouri General Assembly who truly are public education supporters.
    29. 29. Who is leading MPSA? Answer: The Board of Directors is a voluntary group of Missouri educators (mostly retired) and citizens who simply believe that the public school is the institution which has done the most to make our nation great. These individuals receive no compensation and each has made at least a $1,000 contribution to MPSA. Bios of all current board members are provided on the MPSA website at
    30. 30. Board of Directors Gary Sharpe – President – Chesterfield James Ritter – Vice President Columbia Peggy Cochran – Secretary Lake of the Ozarks Carole Kennedy – Treasurer Columbia
    31. 31. Board of Directors (Cont.) David Bethel Kirksville Luana Gifford Jefferson City John Cary St. Louis Jim Kreider Nixa Dan Colgan St. Joseph Sara Lampe Springfield Tom Cummings North Kansas City Carl Peterson St. Charles Jim Dunn Liberty Mary Thomasson House Springs
    32. 32. How much does it cost to become a member and how can I join? Supporting Memberships: $10-99 Sustaining Memberships: $100-999 Founding Memberships: $1,000+ Join online TODAY at:
    33. 33. Help MPSA tell the Public Education story.