NEOSHO, Mo. — Missouri’s top attorney is investigating certain school districts around the state, including Neosho.
He’s questioning potentially controversial surveys.
It’s a list of subpoenas for a list of concerns connected to a list of schools, like Neosho, and the Missouri Attorney General wants to know more.
“I’ve made it my mission to work to empower parents and increase transparency in Missouri schools. Subjecting students to personal, invasive surveys created by third-party consultants potentially without parents’ consent is ridiculous and does nothing to further our children’s education,” said Attorney General Eric Schmitt.
He points to possible issues with student surveys and how they deal with parental consent, political beliefs, income levels, and racially biased questions.
Neosho Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim Cummins says district attorneys are working through the subpoena.
“For us, we issued a response to our local community, to our parents, posted the survey, and the parent letter on our website. So, we’ve shared it with those that we think need to see it and need to know what happened,” said Cummins.
But he doesn’t believe any of the issues cited by the Attorney General are present in the Neosho surveys which are designed to help at-risk students.
“And so, when you take their survey results and you couple it with their attendance and discipline records and grades, it might help us flag students who might be in jeopardy of harming themselves, of dropping out. So, just another tool in our belt,” said Cummins.
Neosho is the only school district involved in the subpoenas, with others in Springfield, Jefferson City, and the Kansas City area.
Dr. Cummins believes any connection might lie outside the districts themselves.
“We’re still trying to figure out why exactly he chose Neosho. I don’t know if that’s because there’s something to do with Panorama, the company that he was specifically going after,” said Cummins.
The subpoenas do appear to focus on surveys created by third-party companies, including Panorama Education and Project Wayfinder.
Panorama did create the Neosho survey, but Neosho officials emphasize they chose the survey questions, not the company.