Well the Missouri Legislature took a step closer Wednesday to spending a massive amount of your tax dollars on education. As is always the case, only time will tell if the spending achieves the goals that most Missourians want.
Much of the spending discussion focused on the problem of the St. Louis school district and others across the state that are struggling with accreditation. Students in those problem districts would be tested every six weeks - under the legislation - and teachers would be tested every five years to prove their competency. Teachers in certain subjects would get more money in those districts as well.
This new legislation now moves to the House for a compromise. All of this maneuvering must be completed by next Friday. Why the lawmakers always wait until the final minute remains a mystery.
The state now has proposed improving salaries for teachers in problem schools, has funded mentoring or after-school programs, has increased testing and provided state oversight for these districts. At some point, lawmakers must accept the fact that more money alone is not the solution to the problems in St. Louis. But until they find that magic formula, we'll just throw more money at the problem.
Someday long in the future, residents of this state will tally the total bill spent on St. Louis schools. When that day arrives, there will be an uproar like none we have seen. I believe residents of Missouri are willing to spend additional funds for the St. Louis schools but only if there is some measurable success. Thus far, that has been lacking.
The problem will get worse before it gets better in my opinion. Parents of achieving students will continue pulling their kids out of the district and that will leave those under-achievers in the district. Scores will continue to lag, graduation will suffer and discipline will erode. Money won't solve these issues.
Proper parenting will.