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nicastro 2009
 Missouri had high standards according to the Commissioner circa 2009. So why did we adopt CCSS?

Commissioner Chris Nicastro was appointed as Missouri Education of Commissioner and began her duties officially on August 1, 2009.

Governor Jay Nixon unilaterally signed the intent to adopt Common Core Standards on June 25, 2009.

Nicastro gave her acceptance speech on July 2, 2009.  From Nicastro to head Dept. of Education from Missourinet:

“Since the Outstanding Schools Act was passed in 1993, education in Missouri has improved significantly,” she says. “Ongoing monitoring on every level ensures that instructional improvement takes place.”

However, she says there remain districts that have shown little sign of improvement, serving some 68,000 students.

“We cannot afford over 7 percent of our student population to be at risk because of where they live,” she says.

Nicastro, 58, is the fifth person — and the first woman — to serve as Missouri’s top official for public schools. She begins Aug. 1 and her salary has been set at $185,400.


The article contains the audio of this speech.  I have transcribed it from the 3:10 mark to the end.  Listen/read carefully.


Chris Nicastro acceptance speech [Download/listen Mp3 – 6:45 min.]

Start at 3:10:

Since the Outstanding Schools Act was passed in 1993, education in Missouri has increased significantly.  The State Board has established high standards for achievement and has implemented an effective framework for instruction and assessments based on these standards.

Ongoing monitoring at every level ensures that instructional improvement takes place.  The vast majority of Missouri schools have made tremendous progress toward reaching these standards including addressing the needs of under-served populations.

Nevertheless, there remain districts with unacceptable performance and little sign of improvement.  These districts, unaccredited or provisionally accredited, serve close to 68,000 students.  We cannot allow to afford over 7% of our student population to be at risk because of where they live.

Our greatest challenge is to find a way to meet student need in every school in every district throughout the state.

Missouri is not alone in this challenge.  Throughout the country, schools in urban centers and schools in remote rural areas usually characterized by high concentrations of poverty are failing to meet standards and failing to meet the needs of their children.  In an age where international competition continues to grow we cannot afford to squander the potential of even one child.

In addition there are districts making progress which have maintained full accreditation but continue to have performance concerns.  And there are districts in the state known for excellence doing an outstanding job for the majority of their students but still failing some individual or some groups of children. All these districts, too, need support or assistance to continue their improvement efforts and to ensure success for every child.

This challenge to achieve universal proficiency is daunting.  Too often, schools and districts struggle to meet the needs of their children and are characterized by dysfunctioning governing bodies, competing community politics and a lack of coordination between and among agencies serving children.  While the current system promotes most schools, and districts making improvement, it is clearly not sufficient to overcome these systemic deficits.  We must come together as a state to make school improvement and proficiency for all children a priority and chart a course of action to make the goal a reality.

Educational, political, community and business leaders must come together to develop a comprehensive strategy for delivering a high quality educational services to the children of our state.  This strategy must draw on the best practices and most innovative ideas from across the world.  It must ensure a systemic solution–a solution that is not vulnerable to political and social change.

All of this can and will happen through the power of engagement and the advocacy of diversity.  Missouri has any human resources.  Each and every one must be employed to confront the challenges we face in meeting the educational needs of all Missouri’s children.

End: 6:35


Several items of note:

  • The STATE BOARD established HIGH STANDARDS for achievement (Missouri didn’t need a consortia to set high standards)
  • Missouri had an effective framework for standards and assessments (which was controlled and set by the state)
  • Missouri was making TREMENDOUS progress  in reaching the standards
  • 7% of students were not proficient BECAUSE OF WHERE THEY LIVED (not because of faulty standards…does that mean 93% of students WERE proficient? Did we sign onto standards for 7% of failing students?)
  • Schools in urban centers and schools in remote rural areas usually characterized by high concentrations of poverty are failing to meet standards (again, it’s not because the standards are too low, it’s because of poverty)
  • We cannot afford to waste the potential of any child (how will different standards accomplish 100% proficiency when Nicastro has already stated it was because of where a child lives and poverty?)
  • Education strategy stakeholders: notice what group was missing (hint. It might just be the parents)
  • Nicastro says “we must come together as a STATE”….(NOT signing over decision making for education to private companies funded by the government.  THAT is fascism)
  • All of this can and will happen through the power of engagement and the advocacy of diversity (how can a theory like COMMON core encourage diversity?  Those are antithetical to each other)


Right after she assumed her duties as Commissioner she signed on to the same agreement Governor Nixon had signed in June.  Was her acceptance speech was just chatter?  Clever talking points?

If 7% of students were failing and the reason was due to poverty, is the answer to ensure proficiency for these students mean signing onto centralized standards?  At no time did she say low standards were a problem, in fact, she touts the fact that Missouri had high standards!  Which Commissioner do you believe?  The June 2009 version or the 2013 version when she stated “we need high standards” in a House hearing and that’s why we signed onto CCSS?  They are two very different versions of the same person.


Remember when DESE stated in a 2011 FAQ (since pulled from the Internet) that the standards wouldn’t cost anything?

DESE faq ccss costSo tell me again: Why did we adopt Common Core when we had excellent standards, framework for assessments and the vast majority of school districts were doing a tremendous job with the standards?  Why did DESE state in 2011 in a FAQ that the standards wouldn’t incur additional cost when we know now they will cost into the millions for the state and unknown costs to districts in 2015 according to an updated DESE FAQ?

Questions & Answers on the 2014-2015 Missouri ...

dese faq cost 2014

DESE faq cost 2014 2


Just what is the truth about why we adopted CCSS and what is the cost?

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