Lawmaker's Proposal Would Give Missouri Schools Letter Grades

Dec 19, 2014

Lamar Republican Sen. Ed Emery wants to give Missouri schools a report card – he's filed legislation to create an A-F letter grade system similar to those enacted in other states.

"I think if we can do this in Missouri, we'll have better informed parents and more involved parents, and as a result, we'll be moving toward an excellence in education that we all want," Emery said.

Florida was the first state to issue A-F letter grades to schools a decade ago under former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush. Now, about a dozen states have similar systems in place.

School letter grades are popular among conservative lawmakers who say the A-F ratings are easy for parents to understand. But opponents of such systems argue that issuing a single grade paints an overly simplistic picture of a school's performance.

Emery said he's not worried parents would have a knee-jerk reaction to a low grades. In fact, he thinks it may encourage them to take action.

"One of the most encouraging signs of the A-F grading in other states is you see an increased involvement of parents," Emery said.

Emery's also not worried about the pitfalls other states have experienced implementing their own ratings systems, chiefly that A-F grades can be easily manipulated for political reasons.