Advocating for Positive Changes in Education Policy

Quality Schools Coalition is committed to creating an education policy environment in which all public schools flourish. Towards this end, the QSC board of directors adopted the following strategic objectives:

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Tier One Priorities

  • Accountability: Missouri passes legislation that revises its K-12 public school accountability system to include these pillars: 1) Performance ratings for K-8 schools are based 90% on student growth and achievement, and high school performance ratings are based 90% on college/career readiness, student growth, and achievement, and 2) Information about school performance is clear and easily accessible online for parents and other education stakeholders. 
  • Fair and Adequate Funding: Missouri revises the K-12 public school foundation formula to ensure that Missouri is a Top 20 state for 1) Overall per-pupil public school funding, 2) Average teacher pay, and 3) Supplemental funding for low-income students.
  • Public School Choice: Missouri passes legislation that allows public school open enrollment, and Missouri expands charter schools to charter counties and municipalities with a 30,000 or greater population.

    Tier Two Priorities

    • Differentiated Teacher Pay: Schools have the flexibility to adopt differentiated teacher pay schedules.
    • Alternative Teacher Certification: Schools have the flexibility to hire teachers through alternative pathways to teacher certification.
    • Competency Based Learning: Missouri adopts a framework for competency- based learning that creates flexibilities for teacher certification and student seat time, provides adequate funding and measures outcomes.
    • Market Value Assets: Missouri adopts a framework for high school students to earn Market Value Assets (college credits, industry-recognized credentials and professional internships) that includes flexibilities for teacher certification and student seat time, provides adequate funding and measures outcomes.
    • Charter School Access to Vacant District Buildings: Charter schools have right of first refusal to vacant district buildings.
    • Supplemental Funding to Raise Student Achievement: Schools may establish supplemental learning programs for students who are performing at the Basic or Below Basic level in core subjects and receive adequate funding through the foundation formula. 

    Wondering how to find information on your local Missouri legislators? Follow the links below.

    Legislative Work

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    Quality Education Act

    All Missouri students deserve access to a world-class education. Although Missouri has a system to measure school success, it is not working. In the current system, 99% of Missouri’s school districts are “Fully Accredited,” yet Missouri’s student achievement levels are below the national average. Your support of the Quality Education Act will ensure that Missouri measures what matters, provides clear information for families, and provides support and interventions to struggling schools.

    Charter School Funding Equity (HB1552)

    Charter school students in St. Louis and Kansas City were receiving 20-30% less funding for their education than their peers in traditional public schools. This discrepancy resulted from a state law that tied a significant portion of charter school funding to 2005 tax receipts, which were then frozen in time. Meanwhile, traditional public schools were funded by annual property tax collections that naturally increased over time. The four-year effort to "fix the glitch" was complete when Governor Parson signed House Bill 1552 into law on June 29, 2022. The new law adds $60-70 million dollars annually to urban education in St. Louis and Kansas City, and ensures that charter public school students and traditional public school students are funded equitably.  

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    2022 Education Omnibus (SB681)

    Senate Bill 681 was an education omnibus bill that included many improvements to elementary and secondary education. Key provisions from the legislation included: developing a plan to establish a comprehensive reading intervention program, teacher recruitment and retention measures, and support for schools offering competency-based education.

    The Governor signed SB681 into law in June 2022. You can find the full text of the bill below.

    Pre-K Expansion

    Early childhood brain science has shown that kids form critical development before the age of 5 when they usually begin Kindergarten. Pre-K programs provide learning and care opportunities for kids. Money from the state, local and federal government can help expand pre-K so more children have access to get a head start in their education.

    In 2023, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed the FY2024 state operating budget totaling approximately $51.8 billion in appropriations. The Governor made significant investments in early care and education by approving funding for pre-Kindergarten programs and a substantial boost to the child care subsidy program.

    The $82 million increase in funding is the largest in the state’s history and is a step to ensuring every child from birth to five has access to quality care and education. This investment is the latest step to build and fully fund an early childhood system for Missouri.

    Quality Schools Coalition will continue to monitor and support legislation that make funding increases for early child care and education permanent.

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    Increased Teacher Pay, Retention, and Recruitment

    Senate Bill 19 filed in 2023 would have increased Missouri's minimum teacher pay to $38,000 starting in the 2023-24 school year. Teachers with a master's degree and ten years of teaching experience in public schools would earn a minimum salary of $46,000. Senate Bill 19 did not pass and the goal of increasing minimum teacher pay remains urgent. 

    Great teachers are the backbone of every great school. To ensure that all children in Missouri have access to a high-quality education, we must recruit and retain outstanding teachers for our classrooms. Honoring teachers with compensation that recognizes their critical role in our communities is a priority. 

    Currently, average teacher pay in Missouri ranks 46th among all states and Washington, D.C.

    Open Enrollment

    House Bill 253, filed in 2023 would establish open enrollment in Missouri, allowing students to attend a public school outside their home district, if space is available. Importantly, the legislation included transportation funding, to ensure that open enrollment is accessible to students regardless of parents' means to transport their children. QSC testified in support of Open Enrollment, while working with House and Senate leaders to ensure that charter schools would also be eligible to accept non-resident students. Here’s a highlight from our testimony:

    Among our core values is a belief in the value of public school-choice. We understand that the traditional neighborhood public school will be a great option for many families and students. However, it won’t always be the best option for all students. Therefore, an optimal public education ecosystem should have several high-quality school options for parents to choose from…

    Open Enrollment passed the House and the Senate Education Committee in 2023 but did not pass the full Senate.

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    Increasing the State Adequacy Target

    In September 2023, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released its proposed budget for fiscal year 2025. The proposal would increase the state adequacy target for the first time in five years. The state adequacy target is a multiplier in the public school funding formula that represents the per-pupil spending of districts that score 90% or more on the Annual Performance Report (APR).

    DESE is requesting a budget increase of $120 million for the 2024-25 school year and an additional $300 million for the 2025-26 school year. Quality Schools Coalition supports more funding for our classrooms. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the total per pupil expenditures for a public school student in Missouri is $11,865, which ranks 37th nationally. The U.S. average is $14,347. 

    Charter School Expansion

    Charter schools in Missouri currently serve students who live within the Kansas City, St. Louis, and Normandy public school districts. Restrictions within state law limit opportunities for charter schools to serve a broader group of students and families. Quality Schools Coalition supports legislation that would expand charter school eligibility to charter counties and municipalities with 30,000+ population.

    The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University recently published As a Matter of Fact: The National Charter School Study III 2023 which found that charter school students in Missouri received the equivalent of 56 additional days of learning in math and 39 additional days of learning in reading compared to their traditional public school peers. In this study, Missouri’s charter school sector ranked among the top five states nationally.

    The opportunity to choose a charter school should be extended to more families in Missouri. 

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    QSC is Grateful to Collaborate With These and Other Organizations in Pursuit of Our Mission

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    Show Me KC Schools logo
    Activate STL logo
    Parent Leadership Training Institute logo

    Follow Quality Schools Coalition

    Quality Schools Coalition
    Quality Schools Coalition3 weeks ago
    Last week, Quality Schools Coalition hosted happy hour celebrations in Kansas City and St. Louis to toast to the passing of Senate Bill 727 and honor those who helped make it happen. Thanks to all who joined us, and congratulations to our 2024 Legislative Champions:

    Representative Steve Butz
    Representative Phil Christofanelli
    Senator Andrew Koenig
    Representative Chantelle Nickson-Clark
    Representative Marlene Terry
    Quality Schools Coalition
    Quality Schools Coalition4 weeks ago
    Thank you to everyone who joined us in Kansas City last night for a post-legislative session happy hour and celebration of the passing of SB 727! We have so much appreciation for the legislative champions and parent advocates who made it possible.
    Quality Schools Coalition
    Quality Schools Coalition1 month ago
    QSC Board Member Mayor Sly James on the passing of S.B. 727: "the bottom line is that our children and educators deserve these belated investments. Amid the current political landscape, Missourians and our Kansas City communities should view this as a genuine victory on their behalf."

    Read more at:

    Get Involved With Quality Schools Today!

    Whether it’s messaging your local legislator or joining Quality Schools Coalition at the Missouri State Capitol, no action is too small when working to improve educational opportunities for all students in Missouri.