Earlier this month, the Missouri Supreme Court declined to hear NCTQ's appeal of a lower court decision, which blocked our request that the University of Missouri turn over course syllabi to us for the purpose of assessing them for the Teacher Prep Review. As is the custom of the Supreme Court, no reason was given about its decision, but it came as a surprise given the considerable support, including amicus briefs, from Missouri journalists. As UM Professor Mike Podgursky described, "The absurd legal fiction that syllabi distributed to 35,000 UM students cannot be disclosed" has been allowed to stand.
None of the legal decisions actually prevent us from traveling to Missouri and looking at syllabi, provided no one has to copy them for us. That was an option we had not wanted to pursue, because of the principle at stake here and the cost involved in sending numerous analysts to multiple Missouri campuses.
Missouri's press association rightly calls the Supreme Court's refusal to take up the case "devastating," as Missouri public agencies can now refuse to disclose any copyrighted document. The implication of this decision has not fallen on deaf ears — Missouri's legislature is now considering a bill on the matter to ensure that it continues to live up to its reputation as the "Show-Me State."