Join the thousands of parents and supporters of Missouri's public schools to learn what you can do to help!

Everything listed under: Missouri Legislature

  • Missouri Legislature 2015 Wrap-Up Post

     

    The First Regular Session of the 98th Missouri General Assembly ended on May 15th. During the 4.5-month-long session, a number of bills affecting Missouri public schools were the subjects of debate. From budgets to bullying to school transfer law, here’s a summary of the biggest education-related bills of the session.

    State Budget Approval & the Foundation Formula
    Congress passed the state’s Fiscal Year 2016 operating budget. The budget, which will go into effect July 1st, includes an $84 million increase in funding for the Foundation Formula. Despite the increase, the Formula remains under-funded by more than $440 million.

    Learn more: Understanding the Missouri Foundation Formula

    Supplemental Budget Approval
    The state’s supplemental budget bill, which helps cover unexpected expenses in the current year, was passed during the legislative session. The bill allocated $3.78 million to K-12 schools and $3.4 million to early childhood special education programs.

    A+ Funding for Illegal Immigrants
    Legislators passed a bill that will exclude illegal immigrants from qualifying for Missouri A+ Program scholarship funding. The bill was designed to ensure that residents have state scholarship funding priority. Opponents of the bill are concerned that students brought to the United States as children are being punished unfairly and prevented from achieving higher education goals. (Source)

    Learn more: Missouri’s A+ Program Benefits Thousands Each Year

    Higher Education Funding
    HB3 increases funding for Missouri’s public higher education institutions by $12 million. The bill was passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor.

    School Transfers
    Legislature passed a school transfer bill (HB42) that opponents hope will be vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon. The bill, which would expand charter and virtual schools in the state, would also affect accreditation and school transfer.

    Under the bill, individual schools — not entire school districts — would earn accreditation. Students would be able to transfer from a failing school to an accredited school in their home districts. If an accredited school doesn’t exist in the student’s district, the student could still transfer outside the district.

    Failing schools would still be required to pay tuition and transportation costs for transfer students. The bill placed no limits on the cost of tuition charged by receiving districts. (Source)

    Learn more: School Transfer: An Expensive Law for Struggling Schools

    Day Care Bill
    SB341, which was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, requires day care centers to establish safe sleep policies and to disclose registration of unvaccinated children. The bill also establishes reporting procedures for juveniles with sexual behavior issues. (Source)

    Bullying
    A prominent anti-bullying bill didn’t survive the session. HB458 would have made school anti-bullying policy requirements stricter. The bill defined bullying and cyber bullying, and called for schools to play a more active role in suicide prevention. Many schools already have already enacted written anti-bullying policies on their own, but the bill would have legally required them to do so. (Source)

    Learn more: Bullying in Schools: How Adults Can Help

    A New President for the State Board of Education
    Unrelated to lawmaking, but coinciding with the legislative session, the State Board of Education elected a new president, Charlie Shields of St. Joseph, to replace former president Peter Herschend. Shields is the Chief Operating Officer at Truman Medical Centers, and served 20 years in the Missouri General Assembly. (Source)

    Missouri Parent is a free service for all Missouri parents and others who have an interest in public education. We aim to provide accurate and timely information on education funding and legislative issues that impact public education.

    To continue to learn about policies affecting your child’s Missouri public school education, bookmark Missouri Parent News and connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter.


  • Tools to Use: MO School Directory Interactive Map

    Have you ever wondered exactly how your child’s school and district lie in relationship to legislative boundaries or county lines? The Missouri School Directory Interactive Map, a tool of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), can answer those questions and more.

    DESE’s interactive map allows you to view any combination of the following:
    · Schools
    · School Districts
    · Counties
    · Missouri House Districts
    · Missouri Senate Districts
    · U.S. Congressional Districts

    So, for instance, you can view all schools in Barton County, Missouri, as they relate to the state’s Senate Districts:


    Or if your child attends school in Blue Springs R-IV School District, you can explore the way that each of the schools in the district compares to where Missouri’s House District boundaries lie.

    In addition to being able to see how schools, districts, counties, and state and federal legislative districts overlap, you can even customize the style of the map. There are ten different map options, including street view, a view that’s similar to Google Earth, topographical and terrain views, and light or dark gray canvases.

    The Missouri School Directory Interactive Map is a modern application that includes some of the information that parents used to be able to find in the printed Missouri School Directory. The Missouri School Directory is available digitally only, now, but the interactive map is a very cool, technologically relevant application of the data in the directory.

    According to the DESE website, most of the information in the map comes from the Missouri Comprehensive Data System (MCDS). That information is updated weekly, so the Missouri School Directory Interactive Map is virtually always up to date.

    We want to hear from you: Have you ever used the Missouri School Directory Interactive Map? How did it help you? Leave a comment on the blog or chat with us on Facebook or Twitter.

    Was this post helpful? Share it with friends using the hashtag #MoEdTools, and be sure to bookmark Missouri Parent News for regular updates on legislation and funding issues affecting Missouri’s K-12 public schools.


  • Tools to Use: The Missouri General Assembly Roster

     

    The Missouri General Assembly Roster, published by the Secretary of State’s office, is your go-to legislative resource as a Missouri citizen. Like the Yellow Pages of state elected officials, the Roster includes lists of every elected official — and their contact information — in the State of Missouri.

    The Roster includes the names, photos, phone numbers and email addresses of Missouri’s State Senators, State Representatives, U.S. Representatives, and U.S. Senators. The Roster also includes the names, photos, and phone numbers of Missouri’s Executive Officers.

    The Roster includes other helpful information, such as:
    · Standing and Special Committees Lists
    · Contact Information for Elected Official Staff Offices
    · Names & Contact Information for State Executive Officers
    · Map of Missouri’s Federal Congressional Districts
    · Map of Missouri House Districts
    · Map of Missouri Senatorial Districts
    · Missouri General Assembly Schedules

    The Missouri General Assembly Roster is a tool you can use to better-understand who represents your family when important school finance and policy issues arise. With the Roster, you can easily find — and communicate with — each of your state and federal elected officials.

    Go Deeper: Find and Contact Your Missouri Legislators Digitally

    Was this post helpful? It’s part of an ongoing series called Tools to Use that highlights educational, legislative, and funding tools that helps Missouri public school parents navigate policy and funding issues in the state.

    See What the Legislature is Working On: Follow the #MoLeg hashtag

    For regular updates that provide a greater understanding of the public education system, bookmark Missouri Parent News or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. Share our Tools to Use posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdTools.


  • Missouri Education Advocates: Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA)

     

    Name: Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA)

    About: The MSHSAA is a nonprofit educational organization made up of approximately 750 public and private member schools in Missouri. The organization sets eligibility requirements for school sports and activities ranging from softball to speech and debate.

    The MSHSAA’s philosophy is that interscholastic activities and sports supplement the secondary school curriculum, helping them to become better citizens.

    MSHSAA sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, field hockey, 11-man football, 8-man football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling.

    MSHSAA activities include bass fishing, bowling, chess, music activities, scholar bowl, speech and debate, spirit activities, and target shooting.

    Tweet with us using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.

    In addition to regulating interscholastic activities and student eligibility, the MSHSAA is responsible for the registration of contest officials for interscholastic competitions. MSHSAA member schools must use MSHSAA contest officials for their activities and sporting events.

    The mission of the MSHSAA is to promote “the value of participation, sportsmanship, team play, and personal excellence to develop citizens who make positive contributions to their community and support the democratic principles of our state and nation.” (Source)

    President & Executive Director:
    The MSHSAA Board President is Ken Eaton
    The MSHSAA Executive Director is Dr. Kerwin Urhahn

    Employees & Board:
    MSHSAA employs ten people. You can find a staff list, including short job descriptions here. This page provides a list of MSHSAA’s current Board of Directors.

    Website: http://www.MSHSAA.org/

    Social Media Sites:
    MSHSAA’s Communications Director, Jason West, on Twitter
    MSHSAA on Facebook

    This post is part of a running series called “Missouri Education Advocates,” which is designed to highlight the professional education organizations in Missouri that work on public education legislation and advocacy. These short and sweet features highlight basic information about some of Missouri’s leading education organizations.

    Connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter and share our Missouri Education Advocates posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.




  • #MissouriMath: The School Transfer Law

    Missouri’s School Transfer Law allows students who live in an unaccredited school district to attend school in an accredited district. When students transfer, their home district (the failing district) is required to pay for their transportation to and tuition for the accredited school they’ll attend.

    Learn More: Understanding Missouri’s School Transfer Law

    School transfers are expensive for the unaccredited district. In 2013, when both the Normandy and Riverview Gardens in St. Louis County were deemed unaccredited, more than 2,000 students transferred.

    While state lawmakers have proposed changes to the School Transfer Law, the law — in its current form — is an expensive one for unaccredited districts and profitable for receiving districts.

    Tuition alone cost between $7,000 and $21,000 per student for Normandy and Riverview Gardens in 2013. That means that the two districts spent more than $14 million just on tuition — an expense that threatened to send Normandy into bankruptcy. (Source)

    Learn More: Riverview Gardens Struggling as Result of School Transfers

    Representative Clem Smith (D – Velda Village Hills) told STLToday.com that, “getting a transfer kid is like hitting the lottery. Order a few more lunches, but whatever money (transfers) brings in, you absorb that into your budget.” (Source)

    The total number of transfer students in Normandy and Riverview Gardens fell to around 1,000 in 2014, but the costs to those districts still is still taking its toll. Normandy’s superintendent Charles Pearson, told STLToday.com that the district is operating “on a survival budget” when it should be focused on improving instruction. (Source)

    Missouri Parent agrees with Pearson that education money should be invested in education, not in transportation and tuition. When the cost of tuition and transportation for an individual student to attend a different school exceeds the state’s average per-pupil expenditure (PPE), it’s just not sustainable.

    Instead of spending taxpayer dollars paying for tuition and transportation, Missouri Parent believes that the state should invest that money directly in rebuilding Missouri’s unaccredited schools. The Missouri School Transfer law is an example of #MissouriMath that just doesn’t add up.

    Stay up to date on legislative and funding issues affecting your child’s K-12 public school education in Missouri by bookmarking Missouri Parent News. Get daily updates on policy, education, and more by connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter.



  • Missouri Education Advocates: Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA)

       

    Name: Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA)

    About: MSTA is a grassroots organization made up of local Community Teachers Associations (CTA) in each local school district, reflecting MSTA’s strong commitment to local control. Members set the policy of and priorities of MSTA to meet the needs of Missouri educators. The organization was founded in 1856, and provides services and benefits to its more than 45,000 members.

    Employees: You can find a full contact list for the MSTA headquarters here.

    President: Stacy Williamson

    Website: http://www.MSTA.org

    Tweet with us using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.

    Social Media Sites:
    The MSTA Blog
    MSTA on Facebook
    Student MSTA on Facebook
    Missouri FTA on Facebook
    MSTA on Twitter
    MSTA on Pinterest
    MSTA on YouTube
    MSTA on Flickr

    Legislation & Advocacy:

    MSTA attends State Board of Education meetings and Public School Retirement System meetings, and it serves as liaisons to governmental agencies. It also “conducts workshops on political issues and involvement”. (Source)

    The organization endorses candidates for the Missouri legislature, and “MSTA’s government relations department delivers testimony on MSTA’s legislative platform,” according to MSTA’s website.

    MSTA publishes a weekly MSTA Action newsletter during the legislative session, explaining its position on featured pieces of Missouri state legislation. You can find archives of all MSTA Action newsletters here.

    This post is part of a running series called “Missouri Education Advocates,” which is designed to highlight the professional education organizations in Missouri that work on public education legislation and advocacy. These short and sweet features highlight basic information about some of Missouri’s leading education organizations.

    Connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter and share our Missouri Education Advocates posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.



  • Understanding Missouri’s School Transfer Law

     

    Lawmakers in Jefferson City have proposed changes to a controversial and expensive law that enables students in unaccredited school districts to attend school in a fully accredited district, instead. To help you follow these conversations in the capital, today’s post on the Missouri Parent Blog explains what the School Transfer Law is, and what a few popular perspectives are surrounding it.

    The Missouri School Transfer Law says that students who live in an unaccredited school district can transfer to an accredited school district in the same county or in an adjacent county at no charge to their own families. The costs associated with the school transfer, including transportation and tuition, are the responsibility of the home school district (the unaccredited district).

    The School Transfer Law was created in 1993, and has been viewed as a blessing to some families and a frustration to others. Perspectives on the School Transfer Law run the gamut:

    Some families see the law as a reflection of their child’s right to a high quality public education — if their own school cannot provide it, then the child should be allowed to attend school in a district that can. It is not a child’s fault if his or her school district loses accreditation. Every child — even those in a struggling district — has an equal right to earn a quality public education in Missouri.

    Other families are concerned that the accredited school districts (called “receiving districts”) cannot handle the large influxes they see of students from outside districts. Logistically, the transfer law can pose a challenge for receiving districts, and parents who live in receiving districts have expressed concern about the educational standards in those districts being lowered to meet the academic abilities of transfer students from failing districts.

    Parents in accredited districts often feel that they chose their district (and pay property taxes in their district) so that their children can attend high quality public schools. It feels unfair to those families to have children from unaccredited districts in their child’s school without living in the community or paying local taxes to support the local education system.

    Another prominent perspective on the School Transfer Law is that it drains resources out of already-struggling school district, making it even more difficult for unaccredited districts to succeed. Rather than spend millions of dollars each year on transportation and tuition in another district, goes this line of thinking, that money should be invested directly into making the unaccredited school district stronger.

    Missouri Parent believes that the School Transfer Law is an expensive policy that compounds existing problems — especially budget issues — in struggling districts. Our belief is that the money invested in transportation and tuition should be infused back into local schools, giving them the resources they need to succeed.

    We want to hear from you, though: What do you think about the Missouri School Transfer Law? Have your children benefited from it? Has your home school district struggled as a result of the law? What do you think of the discussions happening in Jefferson City that could result in changes to the existing School Transfer Law?

    Our goals include sharing relevant and timely policy and funding information with Missouri parents, and helping you — parents of Missouri public school students — to support your child in his or her public school career. We hope you’ll leave a comment on the Blog or on our Facebook Page, and that you’ll connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.



  • Missouri Education Advocates: Missouri School Leaders

     

    Name: Missouri School Leaders: the Online Hub of the Missouri School Administrators Coalition

    About: Missouri School Leaders is provided by and paid for by the Missouri School Administrators Coalition (MSCA), which is the umbrella organization for two autonomous statewide professional associations of public school administrators: The Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) and the Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP)

    The organization is committed to building a broad coalition of parents, students, teachers, board members, business owners, and individuals that are committed to bettering the public schools in the state of Missouri.(Source)

    Missouri School Leaders helps raise money for Better Schools for Missouri (formerly MSAPAC), which aims to elect officials in Missouri that “share the value of quality public education.” (Source)

    Tweet with us using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.

    Member Organizations:
    Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals
    Missouri State High School Athletics Association (MSHSAA)
    Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP)
    Missouri Association of Rural Education (MARE)
    Missouri K-8 Schools Association (MO-K8)
    Missouri Association of School Business Officials (MoASBO)
    Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA)
    Missouri United School Insurance Council (MUSIC)
    Missouri Council of Administrators of Special Education (MO-CASE)

    Employees: For a full list of staff, click here.

    Website: http://MOSchoolLeaders.org/

    Social Media Sites:
    Missouri School Leaders on Twitter

    Legislation & Advocacy:
    Missouri School Leaders Issues

    This post is part of a running series called “Missouri Education Advocates,” which is designed to highlight the professional education organizations in Missouri that work on public education legislation and advocacy. These short and sweet features highlight basic information about some of Missouri’s leading education organizations.

    Connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter and share our Missouri Education Advocates posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.



  • Missouri Education Advocates: Missouri Retired Teachers Association (MRTA)

     

    Name: Missouri Retired Teachers Association (MRTA)

    About: MRTA is an association of retired educators whose purpose is to promote the professional, social and economic welfare of all retired school employees. The organization an independent, non-partisan, 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation with a statewide membership of more than 23,000 people.

    Membership is open to retired teachers of public, private, and parochial schools, and to administrators, supervisors, retired school employees, and non-certified personnel who have worked in educational programs, governesses, and tutors. Spouses of members, active teachers and others interested in education may become associate members without the right to vote, hold office or represent the Association.

    Tweet with us using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.

    The MRTA Mission: The Missouri Retired Teachers Association and Public School Personnel organized in 1960 is the only educational organization in Missouri working exclusively for retired school personnel. MRTA will work actively with government and its entities for beneficial legislation. We shall strive to increase membership until all retirees become members, and always foster good fellowship. We will encourage members to be involved in community affairs and work for worthy educational causes. Our mission is to serve and not to be served. (Source)

    Number of Employees: 5
    (See a full list of MRTA’s office staff.)

    Executive Director: Jim Kreider

    Website: http://MissouriRetiredTeachers.org/

    Social Media Sites:
    MRTA on Facebook
    MRTA on YouTube

    Legislation & Advocacy:
    2015 Legislative Platform
    2015 Legislative Committee Purpose & Duties

    This post is part of a running series called “Missouri Education Advocates,” which is designed to highlight the professional education organizations in Missouri that work on public education legislation and advocacy. These short and sweet features highlight basic information about some of Missouri’s leading education organizations.

    Connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter and share our Missouri Education Advocates posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.


  • Missouri Education Advocates: The Missouri National Education Association (MNEA)

     

    Name: The Missouri National Education Association (MNEA)

    About: MNEA is a professional membership organization serving 35,000 Missouri teachers, librarians, counselors, coaches, school psychologists and psychiatrists, administrators, and college and university faculty. Any school employee, including bus drivers, cooks, nurses, and secretaries, can join MNEA.

    MNEA advocates for “public schools, public school students and public school employees,” and offers a variety of services including legal programs, special events, public relations campaigns, professional development, legislative work, and more.

    MNEA is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA). The mission of MNEA is “to serve as the united voice to promote, advance and protect public education and to advocate for the rights and interests of students and our members.” (Source)

    Tweet with us using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.

    President: Charles Smith

    Website: http://www.MNEA.org

    Social Media Sites:
    MNEA on Facebook
    MNEA on Flickr
    MNEA on Twitter
    MNEA on YouTube

    Legislation & Advocacy:
    MNEA’s Platform & Priorities
    MNEA’s State Legislative Updates
    The Education Advocate (EA) Daily News
    MNEA Legislative Action Center
    Contact Your State or National Legislator Page
    Political Action Program

    This post is part of a running series called “Missouri Education Advocates,” which is designed to highlight the professional education organizations in Missouri that work on public education legislation and advocacy. These short and sweet features highlight basic information about some of Missouri’s leading education organizations.

    Connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter and share our Missouri Education Advocates posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates



  • What Would the Civics Education Initiative Mean for Our Students?

     

    The Civics Education Initiative would require high school students, as a condition of graduation, to pass a test on 100 basic facts of U.S. history and civics, from the U.S. Citizenship Civics Test. (Source)

    It “would require all Missouri high school students to achieve at least a 60 percent score on the United States Citizenship Civics Test in order to graduate and earn a diploma.” General Education Development (GED) candidates would also be required to pass the test. (Source)

    Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and in both the Missouri House and the Missouri Senate have broadly supported the Civics Education Initiative. Proponents have designed the initiative to provide schools and districts with as much flexibility as possible: In addition to administering the test in whatever way the school deems appropriate (10 questions, 100 questions, or some other arrangement), the initiative gives students the freedom to take the civics test at any time during their high school years.

    Schools and districts will also have the flexibility to determine when during junior high and high school students will be presented with civics-related subject matter. The heart of the initiative is to ensure that Missouri students graduate ready to engage as educated and responsible stewards of democracy:

    “The Civics Education Initiative is a fundamental first step toward ensuring all Missouri students understand the basic foundations of our government,” Dan Mehan, with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry said. “Its simple in concept and it ensures that our high school graduates have the basic knowledge necessary for active, engaged citizenship.” (Source)

    The United States Citizenship Civics Test is the same test that immigrants aspiring toward U.S. citizenship must take. It was created by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and it includes 100 questions about American government, history, and integrated civics.

    Prospective U.S. citizens are assigned 10 of those 100 questions at random, but exactly how many questions will be on a Missouri high school student’s test will be determined by individual schools and districts.

    The Civics Education Initiative is an affiliate of the Joe Foss Institute, which was founded to educate American youth on the importance of our country’s unique freedoms, and to inspire them to public service. Joe Foss was a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, former governor of South Dakota, and first commissioner of the American Football League.

    Learn more about the Joe Foss Institute here.

    Bookmark Missouri Parent News today or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates on Missouri education policy and other educational initiatives affecting Missouri’s public school students.


  • Missouri Education Advocates: The Missouri K-8 Schools Association (MOK8)

     

    Name: The Missouri K-8 School Association (MOK8)

    About: The Missouri K-8 Association is a membership organization that represents all K-8 schools in Missouri. It exists to preserve the integrity of K-8 districts by sharing common resources, improving efficiency and expanding opportunities through collaborative efforts. (Source)

    Tweet with us using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.

    Co-Presidents: Darryl Pannier and Carless Osburn

    Website: http://www.MoK-8.com

    Legislation & Advocacy: MOK8 is concerned about school transfers and unaccredited school districts, and believes in high standards for funding technology and modern tools that support education and curriculum. MOK8 is committed to full funding of the Foundation Formula.

    Read MOK8’s full Legislative Platform here.

    This post is part of a running series called “Missouri Education Advocates,” which is designed to highlight the professional education organizations in Missouri that work on public education legislation and advocacy. These short and sweet features highlight basic information about some of Missouri’s leading education organizations.

    Connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter and share our Missouri Education Advocates posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.



  • Missouri Education Advocates: The Missouri Council of Administrators of Special Education (MO-CASE)

    Name: The Missouri Council of Administrators of Special Education (MO-CASE)

    About: MO-CASE is a subdivision of the Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE), a division of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). MO-CASE is dedicated to the professional development and support of administrators and supervisors of special education within Missouri’s educational settings.

    MO-CASE provides support and resources to all special education directors in Missouri. MO-CASE achieves its goals through a newsletter, conferences, and scholarships. (Source)

    Purpose: The purpose of MO-CASE is:

    · To promote professional leadership among special educators
    · To promoted the study of issues common to its members
    · To communicate, through discussion and publications, information that will assist in the development of improved services for exceptional children in the state
    · To participate actively in the improvement and the expansion of special education programs in the state (Source)

    Tweet with us using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.

    President: Steven Beldin

    Website: http://www.MO-Case.org/

    Social Media Sites: https://www.Facebook.com/MissouriCase

    Legislation & Advocacy: You can read details about MO-CASE’s legislative platform and advocacy perspectives on its website. Here’s a brief summary of each of the organization’s key policy perspectives:

    · MO-CASE opposes school transfer and open enrollment
    · MO-CASE opposes school vouchers
    · MO-CASE supports increased charter school accountability
    · MO-CASE opposes legislation that would mandate student retention
    · MO-CASE generally opposes legislation that singles out discreet disabilities for different treatment within the education system
    · MO-CASE supports legislation that promotes understanding of specific disabilities and provides quality recommendations for improving services to children with those disabilities
    · MO-CASE is concerned about federal and state legislative and policy proposals that would revise teacher evaluation systems, teacher tenure, and establish differentiated compensation (pay for performance)
    · MO-CASE believes that teacher evaluation, tenure and compensation may be based in part on student growth, but not as a majority portion so that other factors become inconsequential.
    · MO-CASE is against corporal punishment in schools
    · MO-CASE supports state policy initiatives that move Missouri toward universally accessible preschool for all children
    · MO-CASE strongly supports mandatory early childhood special education services (ECSE)
    · MO-CASE supports federal legislation that reasonably limits the use of seclusion, restraint and aversive interventions.
    · MO-CASE strongly supports increasing federal and state funding to adequately support the significant special education requirements imposed on schools.

    This post is part of a running series called “Missouri Education Advocates,” which is designed to highlight the professional education organizations in Missouri that work on public education legislation and advocacy. These short and sweet features highlight basic information about some of Missouri’s leading education organizations.

    Connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter and share our Missouri Education Advocates posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.



  • Missouri Education Advocates: The Missouri Council of Career and Technical School Administrators (MCCTA)

     

    Name: The Missouri Council of Career and Technical School Administrators (MCCTA)

    About: MCCTA is a professional organization for administrators and supervisors working in roles that relate to career and technical education. The organization is devoted to:

    · promoting career and technical education in the State of Missouri;
    · assisting in legislation affecting career and technical education in Missouri and nationally;
    · improving instructional standards and upgrades career and technical programs at the local level; and
    · supporting state and national leadership in career and technical education.

    Tweet with us using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.

    Website: http://www.MCCTA.org/

    Legislation & Advocacy:
    Writing a Letter to Legislators
    MCCTA Legislative Brochure

    This post is part of a running series called “Missouri Education Advocates,” which is designed to highlight the professional education organizations in Missouri that work on public education legislation and advocacy. These short and sweet features highlight basic information about some of Missouri’s leading education organizations.

    Connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter and share our Missouri Education Advocates posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates



  • Missouri Education Advocates: The Missouri Council of School Administrators (MCSA)

     

     

    Name: The Missouri Council of School Administrators (MCSA)

    About: MCSA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit umbrella organization for two autonomous statewide professional associations of public school administrators. Those associations are the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA)*, which serves school superintendents, and the Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP), which serves elementary and middle school principals. (Source)

    MCSA exists for the sole purpose of providing quality professional development opportunities for school administrators, central office administrators, secondary and elementary administrators, and professional/non professional staff. (Source)

    Learn More: #MoEdAdvocates posts on MASA and MAESP

    Tweet with us using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.

    Number of Employees: Many of MCSA’s ten employees work for MASA, MAESP, or MOASBO, as well as for MCSA. You can see a complete staff list, including the roles of each employee in MASA, MCSA, MAESP, and MOASBO here.

    Director: Lonnie Schneider
    (Schneider is also the Association Executive Director of MASA.)

    Websites:
    http://www.MCSA.org/
    http://www.MCSAOutreach.org/

    This post is part of a running series called “Missouri Education Advocates,” which is designed to highlight the professional education organizations in Missouri that work on public education legislation and advocacy. These short and sweet features highlight basic information about some of Missouri’s leading education organizations.

    Connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter and share our Missouri Education Advocates posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.

    *The Missouri Parent program is sponsored by MASA and is its primary advocacy arm.




  • Missouri Education Advocates: The Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP)

     

    Name: The Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP)

    About: MASSP is a professional organization committed to the ongoing improvement of secondary education, the professional development of middle level and high school principals and assistant principals, and programs for the youth of Missouri.

    It is the only association in Missouri that serves the professional needs of middle school and high school principals and assistant principals with programs designed by secondary school administrators for secondary school administrators. (Source)

    Tweet with us using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.

    Mission: To improve secondary education through positive leadership and the enhancement of student performance. (Source)

    Read more about MASSP’s mission and beliefs here.

    Number of Employees: 2

    Executive Director: Phil Lewis

    Website: http://www.MOASSP.org/

    Social Media Sites:
    MASSP on Twitter
    MASSP on Facebook

    Legislation & Advocacy:
    MASSP’s advocacy efforts are woven into the efforts of the School Administrators Coalition (SAC) and Better Schools for Missouri. SAC sends out weekly email newsletter during legislative sessions, and the national association has a presence on Capitol Hill. Better Schools for Missouri helps supports of public education to elect Missouri lawmakers who share their value of quality public education.

    Read More: #MOEdAdvocates: Better Schools for Missouri

    This post is part of a running series called “Missouri Education Advocates,” which is designed to highlight the professional education organizations in Missouri that work on public education legislation and advocacy. These short and sweet features highlight basic information about some of Missouri’s leading education organizations.

    Connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter and share our Missouri Education Advocates posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates



  • Missouri Education Advocates: The Missouri Association of School Business Officials (MoASBO)

     

    Name: The Missouri Association of School Business Officials (MoASBO)

    About: MoASBO is the premier association of Missouri for those managing district resources, supporting its members in managing school district resources by providing professional growth and networking opportunities.

    MoASBO aims to:
    · promulgate and establish high standards of ethics and efficiency in business methods and practices as related to the administration and operation of the public schools in the State of Missouri.
    · study, analyze and disseminate the most efficient methods and practices in all matters pertaining to school business administration; and
    · make comprehensive and progressive study of the school business profession and to recommend standards of practice for the school business official.

    Tweet with us using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.

    President: Ron Orr


    Website: http://www.MoASBO.org/

    Legislation & Advocacy: MoASBO is a sustaining member of Better Schools for Missouri.

    This post is part of a running series called “Missouri Education Advocates,” which is designed to highlight the professional education organizations in Missouri that work on public education legislation and advocacy. These short and sweet features highlight basic information about some of Missouri’s leading education organizations.

    Connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter and share our Missouri Education Advocates posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates



  • Missouri Education Advocates: The Missouri Association of School Administrators

     

    Name: The Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA)

    About: The Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) is the only statewide association in Missouri that exists for the purpose of serving the needs of school superintendents and central office administrators with an interest in the superintendency.

    MASA is a statewide professional association that has grown to include over 600 school superintendents and school administrators. In 2013-2014, MASA set an all-time membership record. The services provided by MASA to its membership have also increased as members have identified and approved long-range plans incorporating key services. (Source)

    Tweet with us using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.

    Statement of Purpose:

    Number of Employees: 4

    Executive Director: Roger Kurtz

    Website: http://www.MASAOnline.org/

    Social Media Sites:
    MO School Leaders on Twitter
    MOParent on Twitter
    MOParent on Facebook

    Legislation & Advocacy:
    MASA Legislative Information
    Missouri Parent*

    This post is part of a running series called “Missouri Education Advocates,” which is designed to highlight the professional education organizations in Missouri that work on public education legislation and advocacy. These short and sweet features highlight basic information about some of Missouri’s leading education organizations.

    Connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter and share our Missouri Education Advocates posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates

    *The Missouri Parent program is sponsored by MASA and is its primary advocacy arm.


  • Missouri Education Advocates: The Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals

     

     

    Name: The Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals

    About: The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), founded in 1921, is a professional organization serving elementary and middle school principals and other education leaders throughout the United States, Canada, and overseas.

    MAESP is the only statewide association in Missouri that exists for the purpose of serving the needs of elementary and middle school principals, assistant principals and those educators with an interest in becoming principals.

    MAESP is a statewide professional association that has grown to include over 1,000 school administrators. The services provided by MAESP to its membership have also increased as members have identified and approved long-range plans incorporating key services.

    Understanding the needs, concerns, and problems of elementary and middle school principals, MAESP offers extensive support, expert counsel and proven solutions. (Source)

    Number of Employees: 3

    Executive Director: Dr. Michael Schooley

    Website: http://www.MAESP.com/

    Social Media Sites:
    Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals on Facebook
    National Association of Elementary School Principals on YouTube
    National Association of Elementary School Principals on LinkedIn
    National Association of Elementary School Principals on Twitter

    Legislation & Advocacy:
    Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals Legislative Platform & Priorities
    National Association of Elementary School Principals Advocacy Program

    Tweet with us using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.

    NAESP Advocacy Priorities:

    • Secure federal funding for professional development and mentoring programs that will strengthen principals' knowledge of early childhood education.
    • Require models of school improvement reform to judge principals based on training, expertise, and time afforded in the school building rather than simply relying on student assessment scores.
    • Ensure that the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) draws from the experiences of local principals and educators who know students best. (Source)

    This post is part of a running series called “Missouri Education Advocates,” which is designed to highlight the professional education organizations in Missouri that work on public education legislation and advocacy. These short and sweet features highlight basic information about some of Missouri’s leading education organizations.

    Connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter and share our Missouri Education Advocates posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates


  • Live Tweets from Missouri Senate #MoTransfers Hearing

     

  • MOParent Presents: The Missouri Education Advocates Series

     

    Missouri Parent is always ready to continue to provide timely information on education funding and legislative issues impacting public education in Missouri. We are not alone in this mission to protect our public schools.

    While the new legislative session is kicking off this month in Jefferson City, we’ll run a new series called “Missouri Education Advocates”. Our goal is to give you a better understanding of which professional education organizations work on public education legislation and advocacy in Missouri.

    Tweet with us using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.

    Each feature will be short and sweet, highlighting basic information about some of Missouri’s biggest organizations who advocate for public education in the state.

    We will update the list of education organizations as we publish individual posts about them. This ongoing list is below:

    If you would like to see any groups featured or have any questions about how education groups advocate for our schools and students, feel free to contact us at any time.

    Follow Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter and share our Missouri Education Advocates posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdAdvocates.


  • Quality Counts School Finance Report Gives Missouri a C- Grade

      

    Quality Counts — the nation’s most comprehensive ongoing assessment of the state of American education — published its 19th annual Education Week’s Quality Counts report.

    The report, called Preparing to Launch: Early Childhood’s Academic Countdown was made up of three indexes:

    · The Chance for Success Index;
    · K-12 Achievement Index; and
    · School Finance

    School finance is an ongoing battle in Missouri, where the state’s Foundation Formula goes under-funded year after year. That’s why the Quality Counts report caught our attention: We were curious to see how Missouri’s school finance stacks up against the rest of the nation. The School Finance index “examined educational expenditure patterns and the distribution of those funds” (source).

    The findings? The U.S. earned a C grade. The highest scoring state in the nation was Wyoming, which earned a B+. The lowest was Idaho, which earned a failing grade. Missouri fell in the middle of the pack: we earned a C-.

    You can purchase the full report here, but if you’d like the shorter version, keep reading:

    The report looks at how much money each state actually spent on public education, but it also looked at funding-related poverty-based achievement gaps. It’s important to understand that the report didn’t just look at the state’s overall education spending though; it looked at the districts within each state.

    The study aims to measure educational progress — in this case educational funding progress — over time and across all states. To do that, the finance report included eight key factors:

    1. The relationships between school district funding and local property wealth;

    Missouri’s Score: Missouri scored 0.185, which means that wealthy districts in the state receive more funding per weighted pupil that Missouri’s poorer districts do.

    Read more: Satire (and the Sad Truth) About Education Funding with The Onion

    2. Actual spending as a percent of the amount of money needed to bring all students to a median level of funding;

    Missouri’s Score: 91.1%. The best scores in the nation were in the 95th percentile and the lowest was in the 81st. The national average was 90.8%. Our interpretation is that Missouri could do more to close the gap for students in districts where funding falls below the state median.

    3. The amount of disparity in spending across school districts within a state;

    Missouri’s Score: 0.151. In this case, 0.0 would be a perfect score because it would indicate that there was no disparity in spending from one district to the next. We fell near the middle of all states, but we were below the national average of 0.167

    4. The difference in per-pupil spending levels between the highest (95th) and lowest (5th) percentiles;

    Missouri’s Score: $3,558. Missouri’s spending difference was lower than the national average ($4,559), but the discrepancy in spending is substantial when you consider that our State Adequacy Target (SAT) for PPE in the same year was just $6,717.17.

    Learn more: Missouri’s State Adequacy Target & the Foundation Formula

    5. Each state’s per-pupil expenditure (PPE), adjusted for regional cost differences;

    Missouri’s Score: $10,798. The national average (adjusted for cost of living, etc.) was $11,735, so Missouri didn’t fall too far behind. Wyoming’s PPE was the highest in the nation at $17,758.

    6. The number of students in the state who attend school in a district that has the same PPE as the national average or a higher PPE than the national average;

    Missouri’s Score: Just 13.7% of Missouri’s students attend school in districts where PPE meets or exceeds the national average. Nationally, 43.4% of students attend school in a district that meets or exceeds national average per-pupil funding.

    7. PPE compared to how far below the national average each district funds its students; and

    Missouri’s Score: 85.7. While this measurement (called the “Spending Index”) uses a complicated mathematic formula (see the report), the important takeaways are that 100 is a perfect score, and that the national average was 89.4. Eight states scored a perfect 100, meaning that every single district in their state fund their pupils at or above the national average.

    8. The state’s total percent of taxable resources invested in education.

    Missouri’s Score: 3.3% of Missouri’s total taxable resources are invested in education, as compared to a 3.4% national average. The highest percentages in the country were in Vermont and West Virginia. Both states spent 5.1% of their taxable resources on education. North Dakota invested just 2.3% of taxable resources to public education.

    Learn more: Where Does Missouri’s Public Education Funding Come From?

    While the School Finance report shouldn’t be viewed as a standalone piece from the other two indices in Preparing to Launch: Early Childhood’s Academic Countdown, its findings are still intriguing.

    · If we hope to reach a Top 10 national public schools ranking by the year 2020, how important is it to close our spending gaps between wealthier and poorer schools?
    · What can our education leaders and lawmakers do to help ensure that all students in Missouri get at least median-level funding for public education?
    · Is a $3,558 per-student discrepancy acceptable between our best- and worst-funded schools after removing the top and bottom 5%?

    Education funding and policy are complex issues nationally and right here in Missouri. Missouri Parent won’t always have the answers to these polarizing questions, but we’ll continue to report on funding and legislative issues that affect your child’s K-12 public education in the state.

    Come back to the Missouri Parent Blog throughout the legislative session to learn more about education funding policies being debated right now in Missouri, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates.

    ***

    Download the “National Highlights Report” of Preparing to Launch: Early Childhood’s Academic Countdown here.

    Read Education Week’s press release on Preparing to Launch: Early Childhood’s Academic Countdown here.

    See the School Finance report here.




  • An Unexpected Increase in Income for Missouri

     

    Missouri ended 2014 with more state income than lawmakers anticipated. According to St. Louis Public Radio, “State income – primarily taxes — rose 10.7 percent in December, compared to the same period a year ago” (Source).

    As a result, the state has just a bit more money to work with in the first half of the fiscal year than lawmakers expected. Overall revenue is up 5.1 percent, which equates to an additional $190 million in general revenue funds compared to the same window of time in 2013.

    The majority of the state’s increased revenues came through individual income taxes, sales and use tax collections, corporate income taxes, and corporate franchise tax collections.

    We aren’t sure yet what, exactly, this means for public schools. Hopefully the increase will mean that Governor Nixon isn’t forced to make budget withholds during the rest of this fiscal year to keep the state’s budged balanced, but it’s too early to be sure.

    Our best hope? That some the state’s unexpected income increase can prevent budget cuts for the more than half-a-million Missouri students whose funding could be reduced if the Foundation Formula doesn’t reach full funding in 2015.

    Learn more: Missouri Law Will Reduce Funding for More than 630,000 Public School Students.

    The First Regular Session of the 98th General Assembly just began in Jefferson City. We’ll continue to share information about activity in the legislature that affects public schools. Bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about education funding and policy in the state of Missouri.


  • Missouri Legislature Appoints New Leaders for Education

     

    With the reorganization of the 98th Missouri General Assembly, the Speaker of the House and the President Pro-Tem have appointed committee chairs, made committee assignments, and even restructured several legislative committees. The committee chairs with a direct leadership role in public education and funding are as follows:

    · Representative Tom Flanigan (R-Joplin), House Budget Chair
    · Representative Kurt Bahr (R-O’Fallon), Regular Standing Committee on Appropriations- Elementary and Secondary Education
    · Representative Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton), Regular Standing Committee on Children and Families
    · Representative Lyle Rowland (R-Cedarcreek), Regular Standing Committee on Emerging Issues in Education
    · Representative Mike Lair (R-Chillicothe), Select Standing Committee on Education
    · Representative Kathy Swan (R-Cape Girardeau) Regular Standing Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education
    · Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), Appropriations
    · Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), Education

    We congratulate all of these leaders on their appointments and look forward to their efforts for public education in Missouri.


  • Missouri Law Will Reduce Funding for More than 630,000 Public School Students

    I

    In April 2014, Missouri Lawmakers passed an important early childhood education bill with bi-partisan support. The passage of HB 1689 made it possible for schools to count pre-kindergarten students who qualify for free and reduced lunches in their in their daily attendance calculations in order to draw state funding.

    Learn what the State Adequacy Target is here.

    Unfortunately, this bill — a bill that began with good intentions — ultimately exceeded its original scope and intent. Although it was designed to support early childhood education, the wording of the bill placed education funding at stake for more than two-thirds of Missouri’s students.

    Subsection 8 of section 128.031 says that:

    “Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, in any fiscal year during which the total formula appropriation is insufficient to fully fund the entitlement calculation of this section, the department of elementary and secondary education shall adjust the state adequacy target in order to accommodate the appropriation level for the given fiscal year. In no manner shall any payment modification be rendered for any district qualified to receive payments under subsection 2 of this section based on insufficient appropriations.”

    What this wording establishes is that if the state doesn’t meet education funding goals in 2015, a lot of students in Missouri could see funding in their district redistributed to other districts.

    Exactly how many is “a lot”? Based on our estimates, 639,000 students will see a decrease in funding if Missouri fails to increase funding for the Foundation Formula during the 2015 legislative session.

    Learn more: Understanding the Missouri Foundation Formula

    The nuances of this clause create a questionable situation for Missouri schools. Missouri’s 193 hold harmless districts are guaranteed to see a 3.2% funding increase next year while 295 districts will lose anywhere from a fraction of a percent to 10% in state funding. Finally, 32 districts will become hold harmless districts, meaning that they’ll see increases of up to 3.2% in state aid.

    What Does HB1689 Mean for Your Child?

    If your child is one of the approximately 242,000 students in hold harmless districts, your child’s school district will see an increase in funding in 2015. If your child is one of the 639,000 students not attending school in a hold harmless district, that district could lose up to 10% of its state funding.

    To see exactly how much money your child’s district will gain or lose, see this chart published by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

    HB1689 creates an unequal funding environment for Missouri’s school districts, but legislators probably won’t repeal the bill. For all districts to receive equal funding, the General Assembly must appropriate approximately $125 million more toward the Foundation Formula than was appropriated in the current fiscal year.

    This funding will fully fund the $6,131 per student State Adequacy Target, and will prevent money from being redistributed away from the more than half-a-million students attending school in districts that are not qualified as hold harmless.

    What Can I Do?

    A student in one district should not be hurt at the expense of students in another. Contact your legislators and tell them that the Missouri Foundation Formula needs $125 million now to fix the self-inflicted wound created by HB 1689 and to ensure that all students in Missouri have access to equal public educational opportunities.

    Find my Missouri Senator.
    Find my Missouri House Representative.

  • The Missouri Legislature Begins Anew

     

     

    January 2014 marked the beginning of another session of the Missouri Legislature. This is the First Regular Session of the 98th General Assembly.

    As the Missouri Parent project also exists to inform our audience of public policy issues which impact public education in our state, you will begin to see more content published here and shared across our social media about the activities of our elected officials.

    We would like to share a couple general pieces of information you may find helpful as the session works its way towards completion in May.

    • You can find contact information, listen to live floor debate, and follow the progress of legislation through the Missouri General Assembly website. Additionally, The Missouri Senate and the Missouri House of Representatives have their own websites with these functions.

    • There are several committees in the legislature which have importance to our public schools. These include the House Appropriations - Elementary and Secondary Education, the House Select Committee on the Budget, the House Elementary and Secondary Education, Emerging Issues in Education, the Select Committee on Education, the Senate Education, and the Senate Appropriations committees.

    • The Missouri Senate and the Missouri House both provide web functions for finding legislation by topic.

    • You can follow live progress or ongoing discussions and posts about the Missouri Legislatures activities on social media by following the hashtag #MoLeg. Here are links to the search on Twitter and Facebook. You will also see #MoLeg on Instagram, Google+, and occasionally in our #MOParent posts.

    • Finally, from the Missouri House site, we share a page highlighting legislative processes in Missouri and a glossary of legislative terms which you will find very handy!

    If there are any other questions you have about our policy discussions, the legislature or issues you would like to see addressed, please leave a comment below or contact us at any time.


  • Missouri Parent: Looking Ahead to 2015

     

    If you have an interest in public education, Missouri Parent is here for you. We’ve worked hard to provide accurate and timely information to parents and advocates of public education since we launched 2013. We saw some big wins for K-12 schools in 2014, and we’re looking forward to making even more progress in 2015.

    One of our biggest advocacy priorities has been, and will continue to be, reaching full funding for the historically under-funded Missouri Foundation Formula.

    The Foundation Formula was passed into law in 2005 but has never received promised levels of state investment. We’ll talk a lot about the Formula, sharing relevant news, advocacy opportunities and updates to you, our readers.

    In 2015, you can also count on Missouri Parent to help you get to know many of our state legislators as they work to fund and administer K-12 education in the Show-Me State.

    We’ll work to educate and inform new and current representatives to the role of public schools in local communities and the state as a whole. Missouri’s historical Republican supermajority gives less power to the Governor, who has traditionally been a vocal supporter of public education.

    There will also be moments of celebration as we recognize the success stories of students, schools, and education leaders in Missouri who are awarded or recognized for their outstanding achievements.

    Missouri Parent will continue to educate lawmakers around the economic benefits of investments in public schools, especially in early childhood education. We’ll also talk about the continued role of public schools in teaching good citizenship and responsible community involvement.

    Finally, you can count on Missouri Parent to write more about — and to stand up against — tax cuts and tax credits that harm your child’s access to high quality education in Missouri’s publicly-funded education system. We call this campaign #MissouriMath and ask you to tell your families, friends, and elected officials about it.

    Thank you for your support in 2014. We’re looking forward to continuing our rally cry for public education in 2015, and hope you’ll come with us, sharing our blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts with other parents and community members you know who are passionate about public education

  • Four Big Wins for Public Schools in Missouri in 2014

     

     

    Thank you for helping us achieve some big successes this year on behalf of our state’s students. Here are four big wins for public schools in Missouri in 2014:

    We Fought For — and Won Back — Missouri A+ Schools Funding
    Funding for the Missouri A+ Schools Program was threatened this year. We shared information with you on what the A+ Program is and why it matters to our high school students. And when funding issues faced A+ we explained those, too.

    Thanks to you, the Missouri A+ Program has had most of its at-risk budget restored. You stood up for Missouri’s high school and college A+ scholarship students, affecting the education of more than 12,000 students. Thank you!

    We Defeated Amendment 3 (#MoNoOn3)
    Constitutional Amendment 3, which appeared on the November 4th General Election ballot, would have been detrimental to Missouri’s public schools. We shared what teachers had to say about Amendment 3, how Missouri’s educational associations felt about the amendment, and the many ways the amendment would have been bad for our kids.

    Thank you for going to the polls to defeat Amendment 3. At Missouri Parent, we advocate hard for the policies we believe are best for our students. Without voters like you — voters who go to the polls to make change happen — we wouldn’t have seen such remarkable success in 2014. Together, we stood strong: #MoNoOn3.

    Win Four Seats in the Missouri Legislature for Representatives Who Stood Strong Against Rex Sinquefield
    In August, four representatives who stood strong against Amendment 3 were up for re-election to the Missouri House. Those representatives were Paul Fitzwater (R - Potosi), Nate Walker (R - Kirksville), Jeff Messenger (R – Republic), and Lyle Rowland (R – Cedarcreek).

    The Missouri Club for Growth, a lobbying group funded in part by Rex Sinquefield, invested more than $600,000 in Fitzwater, Walker, Messenger, and Rowland’s opponents. (Source)

    Missouri’s voters did not let big dollar campaigns fool them, though: these four champions for public education won re-election to the Missouri House. Thank you for electing lawmakers who support public education.

    Secured the Highest Level of State Funding for K-12 Education in Missouri’s History
    While Missouri’s Foundation Formula remains painfully underfunded, Missouri did see higher levels of funding this year than ever before in public education. House Speaker Tim Jones says in this end-of-session press conference that funding for Missouri schools reached an all-time high:

    “We made sure that we provided historic levels of funding for K-12 education,” Speaker Jones said, “and also funded higher education at higher levels this year.” (Source)

    Thank you for your continued advocacy for public school in 2014. Parents, students, supporters and readers came together in 2014 to have a strong positive influence on students across the state. These four wins for public schools would never have been possible without you. Thank you!

    Keep learning more, advocating for Missouri’s K-12 students, and gaining insightful tips and information on raising kids who are successful in public schools: Bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.



  • Missouri Legislature Begins Filing Education Bills

    The filing period for the 98th Missouri General Assembly opened on December 1, 2014 and concluded on January 6, 2015. Several veteran and new legislators have filed education-related bills which could impact all Missourians. While filing a bill does not guarantee any of these ideas will become law in Missouri, we will continue to monitor and report on these bills as they move through the legislative process. 

    The embedded tweets below contain links to the actual bill information on the web pages of the Missouri House of Representatives and Missouri Senate. For more information on the bills, feel free to contact Missouri Parent or the sponsor of the legislation.

    *Updated with more pre-filed education-related bills, 1.6.2015

  • 3 Important Programs for At-Risk Children in Missouri

     

    We have talked a lot lately on the Missouri Parent Blog about the importance of early childhood education, and about some of the resources available to Missouri families who have young children at home. Today we’ll take a closer look at three programs that serve at-risk youth: Parents as Teachers, Title I, and Head Start. Read on to learn more about what each of these programs does and where their funding comes from.

    Parents As Teachers
    The Parents as Teachers network is international, and it serves families in all 50 states. Its programs help increase parent involvement and improve early intervention where a child’s physical, academic, and emotional development is concerned.

    The organization “helps young children grow up healthy, safe and ready to learn” by providing health screenings, home visits, and parent education to families with young children. (Source)

    Funding for Parents as Teachers comes from many places, including private sources and local, state, and federal governments.

    Private funding for Parents as Teachers comes from “foundations, corporations, unions, religious groups, local agencies (e.g., United Way or Variety Club), service organizations (e.g. PTAs, Kiwanis, Junior League, sororities or fraternities), special events, and from individuals.” (Source)

    Government funding comes from a variety of programs and departments, including the Department of Education Funding and the Department of Health and Human Services Funding, including Title I.

    Title I
    Title I is a federal grant program “designed to give educational assistance to students living in areas of high poverty”. Title I started in 1965 with the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and it remains the biggest federal program for elementary and secondary education. Most of the children served by Title I funding are in the first through fifth grades. (Source)

    Title I funds can be used for instructional purposes, as well as to hire staff members. Outcomes of Title I program funding for some schools include things like reduced class sizes, extended learning time, and coaching.

    Head Start Funding
    Another important resource for Missouri’s at-risk communities is the Head Start Program. Head Start is a federal grant program that aims to provide “high-quality, comprehensive early education programming to low-income children and families so that children start school ready to succeed.” (Source)

    Both non-profit and for-profit institutions can apply for Head Start grants, but federal funding can only contribute up to 80% of the program’s costs, with some restrictions. More specifically, the Head Start website explains that,

    “Public or private nonprofit organizations, including community-based and faith-based organizations, or for-profit agencies within a community that wish to compete for funds are eligible to apply for Head Start funding.” (Source)

    Funding for Head Start is competitive, even within individual communities. Regulations ensure that Head Start funding is directed to the most effective programs—the ones that can provide the highest-quality early learning experiences to children.

    Some Missouri communities have recently experienced unexpected cuts to Head Start Funding. We talked about programs in Springfield and Kirksville in this post on the importance of investing in early childhood education.

    As a new legislative session approaches, Missouri Parent believes that early child’s education—especially for our most vulnerable young children—is worth advocating for. If you agree, please bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay informed about funding and legislative issues facing Missouri’s at-risk early learners.



  • The Impact of Refundable and Non-Refundable Tax Credits

    Tax Credits are a hot topic in Missouri, in part because they make up so much of the state’s budget. In Fiscal Year 2012, for instance, Missouri projected total expenditures of $8.64 billion. According to the Tax Credit Review Commission, more than $629 of those expenditures were projected to be consumed by tax credits. (Source)

    When an individual or business receives a tax credit, that individual or business receives a dollar-for-dollar reduction in its taxes due at the end of the year. Tax credits are the equivalent of subtracting an exact number of dollars from taxes due to the state. In other words, a $100 tax credit applied to a $1000 tax bill would result in $900 due to the state.

    Tax credits and tax deductions are not the same things, although many people confuse the two. Tax deductions aren’t a reduction in the taxes an individual or company owes. Instead, they’re a reduction in the total taxable income an individual or business has to report.

    Learn More: What Exactly Is a Tax Credit?

    Refundable vs. Non-Refundable Tax Credits
    There are two big categories of tax credits: refundable tax credits and non-refundable tax credits. When an individual or business receives a non-refundable tax credit, the credit cannot reduce the amount of taxes due to less than $0.

    For example, if you own $500 in taxes and receive a $600 non-refundable tax credit, your balance due will be $0.

    Refundable tax credits can be profitable for the recipient. When the amount of a refundable tax credit exceeds the amount of money an individual or business owes on state taxes, the individual or business gets a tax refund.

    For example, if you owe $500 in taxes and receive a $600 refundable tax credit, you will receive a $100 refund from the state. Or, as TurboTax puts it, “For refundable tax credits, if you would otherwise owe less than $1,800, you get the difference back as a refund!” (Source)

    Missouri Works goes into more detail by explaining that unused credits can even be bought and sold:

    “Tax credits can only be applied to tax liability for the year in which they were earned. Any annual unused balance is fully refundable. The credits may also be transferred, sold or assigned.” (Source)

    Should Missouri Offer Refundable Tax Credits?
    Providing incentive to companies to do business in Missouri is a good thing, but should the state—which still hasn’t met its responsibility to the Foundation Formula for public education—provide tax credits that can be transferred, sold, or assigned? And is it a good idea for Missouri to offer incentives that exceed taxable incomes to the point that individuals and businesses can profit directly from those tax credits?

    Missouri Parent will continue to raise more questions about and cover more topics surrounding Missouri’s tax credits, and the way they impact public schools. To stay informed on legislative and funding issues like tax credits, bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.


  • Missouri’s Low Income Housing Tax Credits

     

    Missouri struggles to support public education. Year after year, lawmakers make choices about general revenue expenditures like those that support Missouri’s K-12 public schools. They also make decisions about tax credits, like Missouri’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). Year after year, the Foundation Formula for public schools remains underfunded by almost exactly the same amount of money that goes to LIHTCs.

    Learn More: Understanding the Foundation Formula

    Compared to other states, Missouri is incredibly generous with LIHTCs. Only 14 states offer LIHTC programs and of them, only California and Georgia spend more money on those low income housing tax credits than Missouri does. (Source)

    On the surface, this may not seem like a problem, but the reality is that LIHTCs aren’t an investment in Missouri or Missouri’s future. Studies have shown little to no return on investment for tax credits. To make matters worse, for every dollar spent on LIHTCs, more than half is lost to accounting, taxes, and middlemen.

    According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, only 43 cents of every dollar spent on low income housing tax credits (LIHTC) is spent constructing new housing. “The rest of the money is lost in an accounting haze or flows to federal taxes, investors, and middlemen.” (Source)

    LIHTCs are the single biggest category of tax credits in the state. The Missouri Tax Credit Review Commission identified LIHTCs as the single most expensive tax credit to the state. (Source)

    Unlike LIHTCs, education is an investment with a high return. Education, especially early education has proven time and again to bring money back to those who invest in it.

    According to the Economic Policy Institute:

    “States can build a strong foundation for economic success and shared prosperity by investing in education. Providing expanded access to high quality education will not only expand economic opportunity for residents, but also likely do more to strengthen the overall state economy than anything else a state government can do.” (Source)

    The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) cites early childhood education as a good investment for governments. According to UNICEF,

    “Efforts to improve early child development are an investment, not a cost. Available cost-benefit ratios of early intervention indicate that for every dollar spent on improving early child development, returns can be on average 4 to 5 times the amount invested, and in some cases, much higher.” (Source)

    LIHTCs provide little to no return on investment, while education offers a 400-500 percent return. Our lawmakers support LIHTCs but refuse to fund Missouri’s schools fully. This situation sounds to us like another example of #MissouriMath.

    If you’d like to learn more about tax credits and Missouri public schools, come back often to the Missouri Parent Blog. We’ll continue to share information about legislation and funding issues that related to public education. Bookmark the blog or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates.

    Learn more:
    Tax Credits Don’t Attract Businesses to Missouri
    What Exactly is a Tax Credit?


  • Tax Credits Don’t Attract Businesses to Missouri

    Studies show that Missouri might earn more money by investing in education than it does by investing in tax credits designed to spur economic development.

    State governments that emphasize tax credits and other corporate tax perks to corporations in hopes of enticing them to do business inside state lines are missing the boat, according to this 2013 report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

    In a single paragraph, the report summarizes a complex and important investment issue that Missouri Parent will continue to explore in the weeks and months ahead: the indirect cost of state tax credits to Missouri’s public school students.

    Learn More: What Exactly is a Tax Credit?

    Many lawmakers believe that the tax credit is a powerful incentive to lure businesses into Missouri, but tax credits might not be as effective as they think. The EPI’s report on says that tax incentives aren’t financially relevant to big business budgets:

    “While cutting costs to business has become the principal focus of economic development policy in many states, more and more states are cutting programs across the spectrum to lower state taxes. In many cases, these ideas are promoted as a way to attract employers from other states—to steal jobs by offering incentives to business leaders. But the preponderance of evidence has shown that in the long run these strategies re inefficient and ineffective (Fisher 2013; Mazerov 2013; Lynch 2004). State and local taxes on business are simply too small a share of total business costs to play a significant role in location decisions...” (Source)

    If state tax breaks have been proven not to be a significant factor when industry leader select locations for their operations, why does Missouri continue to spend more than half a billion dollars each year on tax credits? This is one of the questions the Missouri Tax Credit Commission tried to answer.

    The Missouri Tax Credit Review Commission

    The Missouri Tax Credit Review Commission was charged in 2010 and again in 2012 to explore “the steadily increasing portion of the State’s budget which Tax Credits consume.”

    According to the Commission’s 2012 report, “for FY12, the State will have total expenditures of $8.64 billion. Of those total expenditures, tax credit will consume more than $629 million.”

    The Commission made recommendations in 2010 to scale back tax credits, but no significant changes were made. Again in 2012, the Commission recommended that Missouri tax credits — which cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars each year with little-to-no direct return on investment — be reigned in. Meanwhile, public school education — which studies have shown has a sevenfold return on investment — remains underfunded in Missouri. (Source)

    In 2012, Missouri spent $629 million on tax credits. In 2013, it came up $621 million short in Foundation Formula funding for Missouri K-12 public schools. For now, it seems as though little as changed since the Commission first set of recommendations in 2010: Businesses keep on winning, and public school students continue to lose.

    Missouri Parent will continue to write about tax credits, school funding, and education policy issues that impact your child’s K-12 and higher education in the state of Missouri. To stay up-to-date, bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.





  • #MissouriMath Doesn’t Add Up

         

    The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics says that “the underpinnings of everyday life, such as making purchases, choosing insurance or health plans, and planning fore retirement, all require mathematical competence. (source)

    Mathematics is taught in Missouri’s K-12 schools and in its colleges and universities. From addition to calculus; statistics to econometrics, Missouri’s students take a wide range of math classes from kindergarten through college. Mathematical competence is emphasized in school, but it seems like the Missouri Legislature uses a different kind of math.

    In Missouri schools, basic math looks something like this:

    2 + 2 = 4

    But in the Missouri Capitol, math looks more like this:

    Tax Cut + Education Funding Needs = Budget Withholds & Program Cuts TWEET THIS

    This is what we call #Missouri Math.

    #MissouriMath is a different kind of math. It involves word problems, real world issues, and impact on real lives. In Jefferson City, math looks like this:

    · Struggling Schools + Underfunded Foundation Formula = Introduction of New Tax Breaks. TWEET THIS
    · #MissouriMath = Tax Cuts + Budget Restrictions = Impacts on Individual Students TWEET THIS
    · #MissouriMath means that legislators can offer tax breaks without accounting for the income gaps they’ll create in the General Revenue.

    And in #MissouriMath, those tax breaks = possible cuts to critical programs like the Missouri A+ Schools Program that have helped improve Missouri’s high school graduation rates, track at-risk students, and guide graduates toward appropriate community college and vocational school programs after high school graduation.

    When it comes to public policy, #MissouriMath looks like this:

    · #MissouriMath = The Passage of SB 509 = Individual Tax Cuts + (-Loss of Funding for Schools)
    · #MissouriMath = Teachers working hours they might never be paid for TWEET THIS
    · #Missouri Math = a $115 million increase the Foundation Formula = a Foundation Formula that’s still underfunded by nearly $500 million.

    #MissouriMath is satirical at times, especially where property taxed-based education funding that leaves poor urban and rural schools far behind the funding levels of their wealthier suburban counterparts is concerned.

    And unfortunately, #MissouriMath like this next equation are anything but satire:

    #MissouriMath = (+1.5% Missouri Lottery Revenue) + (-7.4% Decrease in Lottery Contributions to Public Schools) + (6x increase in Lottery advertising spending on things like these T.V. commercials promoting the Lottery’s commitment to public education)

    #MissouriMath doesn’t have to look like this—in fact, in our eyes, it should look something like this:

    #TheRightMissouriMath = A Fully Funded Foundation Formula TWEET THIS
    #TheRightMissouriMath = Investment in the Missouri A+ Schools Program TWEET THIS
    #TheRightMissouriMath = Giving Our Youngest Learners a Great Start TWEET THIS
    #TheRightMissouriMath = Money to Education not Transportation = Students Get Great Education in Home Districts

    If you’re like the many Missouri parents who rely on Missouri’s public schools to prepare your child for college and career, rally together with Missouri Parent to let Missouri lawmakers know that #MissouriMath doesn’t add up.

    To learn more about the funding and legislative issues facing public schools and impacting K-12 students in Missouri, bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

     

     

  • What Exactly is a Tax Credit?

    It would be so much easier to make smart voting decisions if we could just get a simple rundown of what each policy means, how much it would cost taxpayers, and how that money would help Missouri.

    A tax topic of much contention right now is Missouri tax credits. Tax credits aren’t just controversial; they’re highly complex. Tax credits can benefit individuals or businesses, and they’re offered both by the federal government and the state of Missouri.

    Each tax credit the state offers to individuals or businesses means less direct tax revenue for the state. Usually, tax credits are offered as a longer-term investment in things like attracting (and keeping) businesses in the state.

    In the months ahead, we’ll be talking a lot on the Missouri Parent Blog about tax credits. Today we’re here to lay the foundation for those conversations by answer the question, “what exactly is as tax credit?”

    Wikipedia calls a tax credit “a sum deducted from the total amount a taxpayer owes to the state,” and The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines a tax credit as “a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the tax. Can be deducted directly from taxes owed.”

    Tax credits are easily confused with tax deductions, but they aren’t the same thing. According to the IRS, a tax deduction is “an amount (often a personal or business expense) that reduces income subject to tax.” (source)

    While tax credits are taken dollar-for-dollar from the total taxes owed by an individual or business, tax deductions are a less direct way to reduce tax responsibility.

    What do you mean, “dollar-for-dollar”?

    A tax credit is an amount of money that’s subtracted from the total taxes due to the state. If a business owes $10,000 in taxes and receives a $1,000 tax credit, the equation looks like this:

    $10,000 due - $1,000 tax credit = $9,000 due

    Think of a tax credit as a coupon for a certain number of dollars off a total grocery bill (for example, $25 off your grocery bill). That credit/coupon is applied to your total bill upon checkout. No matter how much you spend, you still save $25. If you spend less than $25, however, you don’t get a refund – you simply walk away with a zero balance.

    This example is simplified and shouldn’t be taken literally. The point that it illustrates, though, is that tax credits are a dollar-for-dollar discount on taxes due.

    Tax Credits & Tax Deduction Both Equal Tax Savings

    Deductions and credits can both reduce the overall taxes owed by an individual or a business, but deductions reduce the taxes owed in a way that’s relative to both the taxpayer’s gross income and their tax bracket.

    The TurboTax Blog sums it up nicely:

    “A tax deduction is something that reduces how much taxable income you claim. A tax credit is something that directly reduces how much tax you owe.” (Source)

    Here are two detailed examples of how a $1,000 tax credit and a $1,000 tax deduction would impact taxes owed:

    Example 1 – Tax Credit: Let’s look back at the above example. Imagine that you received a $1,000 tax credit for your business. This tax credit will be applied dollar-for-dollar to the state taxes you owe on April 15th.

    If your total amount of taxes due to the state total $10,000, you’ll subtract $1,000 from that. Your actual taxes owed are reduced to $9,000.

    $1,000 Tax Credit = $1,000 in Tax Savings

    Example 2 – Tax Deduction: Now, imagine that your family is in the 25% tax bracket, earning $50,000 per year. You receive a tax deduction for $1,000. Your tax bracket (25%) is multiplied by the value of the deduction ($1,000) to find your actual tax savings of $250.

    $1,000 Tax Deduction x 25% Tax Bracket = $250 in Tax Savings

    (Source)

    Summary
    Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions in the total amount of taxes an individual or business owes to the state. The value of a tax credit can be taken at face value; a $1,000 tax credit means that the total taxes due are reduced by $1,000. Tax credits are offered to individuals and to businesses at both the state level and the federal level (i.e. on Missouri state and federal taxes).

    The Missouri Parent Blog will explore tax credits in more detail in the weeks and months to come. Please bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog or follows us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on policy and funding issues affecting Missouri public schools, and for insights on helping your child succeed in school.



  • Education Funding Released After Veto Session’s Close

     

     

    Governor Nixon’s “Friday Favors” tax break bill vetoes were brought to lawmakers during the September 10th veto session in Jefferson City. The Governor’s tax break-specific vetoes were sustained, and he announced on Thursday that $143.6 million would be released back into the General Revenue.

    TWEET THIS ARTICLE

    Learn more about the Governor’s precautionary adjustment of the General Revenue in this post.

    Governor Nixon applauded the General Assembly for its decision to sustain his veto of those special interest tax break bills:

    “Presented with a clear choice between supporting local schools and siding with special interests, the General Assembly yesterday stood with us and made the right decision to invest in the best economic development tool there is: public education,” he said. (source)

    Taken individually, the Friday Favors arguably offered reasonable incentives to businesses. When viewed collectively, however, the bills had the potential to reduce the Missouri General Revenue by an estimated $425 million. Funding for Missouri’s K-12 and higher education institutions makes up 45% of the General Revenue, so the $425 reduction in revenues would have significantly impacted Missouri students.

    One of the most-discussed bills in the veto session was Senate Bill 584—a bill that gave tax exemptions that many lawmakers argued were overly vague—to data centers. SB 584 would have cost the state revenues, but it would also have cost local municipalities. Greene County, for instance, would have lost around $5.3 million as a result of provisions in SB 584.

    By sustaining vetoes of SB 584 and other special interest tax break bills, Missouri legislators have chosen to support to schools and students all over the state. The $143.6 million that has been released back into the General Revenue will go to local school districts and higher education institutions, benefiting nearly a million students, statewide.

    Governor Nixon called the release of those General Revenue funds for education a bi-partisan effort:

    “The resources I’m announcing today are possible because legislators of both parties came together and agree that it’s time to invest in our schools.” (source)

    Of the $143.6 million in released funding, $100.2 million supports the Missouri Foundation Formula, while more than $43.3 million is dedicated to performance funding for Missouri higher education.

    Come back to the Missouri Parent Blog, follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook to learn more about how policy makers and policies impact your child’s education in the state.



     

  • Veto Session Begins Tomorrow: Contact Your Legislator Today!

    Tomorrow, September 10, 2014, legislators will meet in Jefferson City for a very important veto session. If you’re concerned about our state’s school funding, please contact your representative today, encouraging him or her not to override the Governor’s vetoes of the Friday Favor bills*.

    Share This Call to Action with Your Followers on Twitter!

    #FridayFavors Cost Millions TWEET THIS
    If the Governor’s vetoes are overridden, #FridayFavors will cost the state an estimated $425 million in tax revenues, with another hit of more than $300 million to local tax revenues statewide. If Missouri loses those tax revenues, our students lose, too.

    Lost Taxes Mean Students Lose, Too TWEET THIS
    If the Governor’s vetoes of the Friday Favors are overridden, the Missouri General Revenue will be shorted by approximately $425 million. 45% of the General Revenue goes directly to K-12 education (35%) and higher education (10%) in the state. That’s a cut of $119 million from Missouri’s students.

    The #FridayFavors Impact Individual Students TWEET THIS
    The Governor’s office estimates that the Friday Favors will have an impact of $105 per student across the state when the Missouri Foundation Formula is already underfunded by $500 per student. Additional funding cuts will force our schools to cut more positions, further limit their technology budgets, and make other cuts to student education.

    If education is important to you and your family, please contact your representative immediately to encourage him or her to support Governor Nixon’s #FridayFavors vetoes.

    *On the final Friday of the 2014 legislative session, the Missouri General Assembly pushed through a collection of tax break bills that will benefit big businesses while pulling money away from Missouri public schools. These bills, which Governor Jay Nixon calls “Friday Favors”, will have a big impact on Missouri’s K-12 and higher education students.



     

  • Missouri Schools Should Be Prioritized Above Tax Cuts

     

     

    Governor Jay Nixon vetoed 33 bills during the 2014 legislative session. Ten of those bills, which his administration calls “#FridayFavors”, were vetoes of tax break bills that could reduce state and local tax revenues by more than $776 million annually, $425 million of that at the state level.



    These tax breaks are good for corporations and bad for schools. TWEET THIS

    Businesses would save $425 million in tax deals, while schools, which rely heavily upon Missouri General Revenue, would see a reduction of around $119 million in funding. Urban and rural schools, which traditionally see lower levels of local funding, would be among the hardest hit by the Friday Favors. TWEET THIS

    The Kansas City Star calls the tax breaks unwise, explaining their risk to schools:

    “It would be unwise to slash into revenues so deeply that it threatened funding for public schools, universities and services for six million residents.”

    The Star is not alone in its concern about tax breaks that would reduce state-level funding for education. Missouri Budget Director Linda Luebbering told KOMU News:

    “This is very significant from the standpoint that you have to reduce services and programs in order to make up for that loss. The biggest single beneficiary of state general revenue is K-12 education.”

    Legislators will reconvene on September 10th in veto session for a chance to override Gov. Nixon’s vetoes. If you’re concerned about funding for Missouri’s schools, reach out to your representative immediately. Let him or her know that your child’s education should be a higher priority than saving a fast food chain or other large corporation a few dollars in state taxes.

     

     

    photo credit: nicolasnova via photopin cc

  • Missouri Governor Vetoes Tax Breaks – How Will #MOLeg Respond?

      

     

    On the last day of the 2014 legislative session, the General Assembly passed several last-minute tax breaks to benefit several businesses and corporations. Governor Jay Nixon reacted strongly in favor of public education by vetoing those tax breaks, which would directly affect state-level funding for education in Missouri.

    As a precautionary measure (in case his vetoes are overridden), the Governor also adjusted the General Revenue to account for the $425 million decrease in the state’s tax revenues that the proposed tax breaks would create.

    The Governor, who has received tremendous criticism for this decision, was acting within his powers: The state constitution forbids it from operating at a deficit. A $425 million reduction in general revenues requires a $425 reduction in spending to keep the budget balanced—a reduction that directly affects K-12 and higher education students statewide.

    Each year, 45% of Missouri’s General Revenue is spent supporting K-12 and higher education institutions. If the General Revenue is reduced by $425 million, Missouri students will receive a proportionate reduction in support. In short, big business will save $425 million, and schools will receive around $119 million less per year than they already do in state-level educational support.

    Ironically, although it was a Republican-led majority that pushed for these tax breaks, Republicans have launched a high profile and well-publicized attack against Governor Nixon, calling students his “lowest priority”.

    House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka is one of the many Republicans speaking out:

    “This is a governor who tells the public he wants to invest in our young people, but then is all too willing to make school funding his first target and show that public education is his lowest priority…”

    In just a few days, Missouri’s lawmakers will reconvene in the capital to attempt to override Governor Nixon’s vetoes. If that happens, anti-tax advocates will win, and Missouri’s students will lose. If you believe that students should have priority over big business we encourage you to contact your local representative immediately to let him or her know that Governor Nixon’s vetoes should be supported—not overridden.

     

     

    TWEET THIS


  • Do Friday Favors Tax Cuts Really Matter to My 9-Year-Old?

     

     

    On the final Friday of the 2014 legislative session, Missouri lawmakers passed a series of bills offering tax breaks to several corporations and businesses. Governor Nixon vetoed them, calling them favors to big businesses, or “#FridayFavors”. 

    As the days draw nearer for the Missouri Legislature to reconvene for their veto session on September 10th, you will be hear this nickname repeatedly in news, conversation and here on Missouri Parent.

    Why did the governor veto those bills? In part, because Missouri’s General Revenue budget, which funds K-12 schools and institutions of higher education, can’t afford to lose any more income. The “Friday Favors” would mean a projected $776 million decrease in Missouri’s state and local government general revenue. TWEET THIS

    The reason this matters to a child—no matter how old—is that if he or she attends public school in Missouri, he or she is among the group of Missourians who will suffer the most if the Governor’s vetoes are overridden on September 10th: Missouri’s students.

    The tax breaks offered by the General Assembly will directly affect the state’s General Revenue budget—45% of which is dedicated exclusively to spending on our state’s schools.

    Even with the passage of a recent appropriations bill, which increased state education funding by $115 million, the Missouri Foundation Formula (Missouri’s Foundation Formula explained) is still underfunded by more than $500 million.

    Taking another possible $119 million away from Missouri’s schools via tax cuts is not the answer for the next generation of Missourians. If you have a child in school in Missouri, “Friday Favors” could mean that:

    · Student-to-teacher ratios will get worse as teachers and other staff are laid off to save money. TWEET THIS
    · Students with disabilities will have less access to high quality staff, buildings, and supplies. TWEET THIS
    · Young, at-risk students will receive decreased support from the Early Grade Literacy Program. TWEET THIS
    · Students who participate in career or technical education will have access to fewer resources. TWEET THIS
    · Early childhood education programs like Parents as Teachers and the Missouri Preschool Program will receive less funding. TWEET THIS
    · Less college tuition assistance will be available for students through the A+ Program. TWEET THIS
    · Funding for after school programs like tutoring will be reduced. TWEET THIS
    · Less support will be available for schools like those in Joplin that are damaged by extreme weather. TWEET THIS

    Lawmakers might be able to offset the impact these changes will have on their children by paying for privatized extracurricular activities, tutoring, and literacy programs, or by paying for private school altogether. The average Missouri parent, however, doesn’t have those options. That’s why these tax breaks matter so much.

    If your child will be affected by any of the impacts listed above, Missouri Parent strongly urges you to contact your local representative.


     

    Let him or her know that your child matters, and that you want Governor Nixon’s vetoes to be upheld when the General Assembly reconvenes on September 10th for veto session. We also ask you to share this information with your friends and fellow parents across Missouri.

    The legislature may have the raw numbers to override the Governor’s vetoes but the votes will be close. Your call to your local representative and senator may be the one which protects thousands of students in Missouri.


  • Four Passed Bills Which Impact Missouri Public Schools




    With the end of the regular session of the Missouri Legislature, it is a good time to look at several bills impacting public education were passed and one which might be back sooner than you think.

    HB 2002 is the appropriations bill which fund elementary and secondary schools. The Foundation Formula received an at least $115 million in increased funding. Due to a compromise trigger, if revenue meets earlier forecasts the fund could see more money for public schools.

    Even with the increased funding, the Foundation Formula is currently underfunded by more than $500 million from promised levels.

    See also: Where MO School Funding Comes From and Understanding the Foundation Formula

    SB 493 is the bill relating to transfers of students from unaccredited schools to accredited schools. Among many changes, the bill allows for students to be transferred to private, nonreligious schools. Governor Nixon is considering a veto of this bill and calling the Legislature back to a special session on the issue.

    HB 1689 allows for future state funding for public school districts to provide early childhood education to children in poverty.

    HB 1490 seeks to find a compromised between supporters and detractors of the Common Core standards by creating evaluation panels for any changes to education standards.

    Were there any public school issues you wanted to see addressed which were not by the legislature this session? Leave your thoughts and comments here on the blog on our Facebook page.

    Missouri Parent will continue to cover these issues and any updates on possible special session.

    Image via.

  • School Funding in America’s Top-Performing States


    American public schools were projected to spend $11,180 per student during the 2013-14 academic year (source). Missouri fell below the national average with a projected $9,721 per pupil expenditure (source). Today we’ll talk about whether that spending difference has an impact on achievement in Missouri’s public schools.

    Researchers have articulated loose correlations between school funding and student performance for years. The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) gathers some of the data that researchers use in understanding those correlations.

    The NAEP is the nation’s longest-running comparative testing program, but it does more than test students; it also gathers comparative data on schools, districts, and states.

    The NAEP’s primary tests are administered in — among other content areas and grade levels — 4th and 8th grade reading and math. NAEP tests are administered in all 50 U.S. States, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense schools. Of those 52 locations only 14 earned higher-than-national-average percentages in all four primary NAEP content areas: 4th grade math, 8th grade math, 4th grade reading and 8th grade reading.



    12 of those 14 states invests significantly more money per pupil in public education than Missouri does. Additionally, the average spending among the 14 highest achieving states was $11,871 per pupil. That’s almost $700 above the national average and more than $2100 — or approximately 22% —more than Missouri’s public school students receive.

    The larger correlation between school funding and student performance may be a loose one, but when the funding for the nation’s top performing states is compared against Missouri’s public education funding, the story becomes clearer: school funding makes a difference in student performance.

    Of the 14 states who performed above the national average in 4th and 8th grade math and reading none has a higher percentage of students on free or reduced lunches than we do in Missouri. In other words, Missouri’s are facing financial challenges at home and at school that make it difficult for them to compete on the national stage.

    School funding has long been debated in Missouri, but nine years after the Missouri Foundation Formula for public schools was passed, the state still fell $620 million dollars short of full funding after the 2014 appropriations process. If we want Missouri’s students be competitive nationally, we must fund our schools at nationally competitive levels.

    To continue to learn about Missouri’s funding for public education and the legislative issues that affect that funding, subscribe to Missouri Parent emails: Just enter your name, email address, and zip code in the form at the top of this page.

    To learn what you can do to ensure that Missouri’s public school students receive the funding necessary for them to be competitive now and in the future, subscribe to the Missouri Parent Blog and follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

    More on Funding for Missouri Public Schools:

  • Highlights of #MOTransfers Debate in MO House

    The Missouri House of Representatives debated and passed SB 493 relating to transfers of students in unaccredited schools to accredited schools in Missouri on April 30th. The bill passed 91-64 and returns to the Senate. Below are tweeted highlights from reporters and witnesses to the debate.


  • Projected Impact of the SB 509 Tax Cut on Individual School Districts in Missouri

    Click the image above to learn the projected impact of the SB 509 tax cut on every individual public school district in Missouri.

    Use this link to look up your local legislator and ask them to sustain Governor Nixon's veto

    Contact the legislators who have been strong supporters of public schools and who have voted against previous tax cuts due to their impact on education.

    Sen. David Pearce: david.pearce@senate.mo.gov
    2. Rep. Elaine Gannon: elaine.gannon@house.mo.gov
    3. Rep. Paul Fitzwater: paul.fitzwater@house.mo.gov
    4. Rep. Sue Entlicher: sue.entlicher@house.mo.gov
    5. Rep. Mike Thomson: mike.thomson@house.mo.gov
    6. Rep. Lyle Rowland: lyle.rowland@house.mo.gov
    7. Rep. Craig Redmon: craig.redmon@house.mo.gov
    8. Rep. Don Phillips: don.phillips@house.mo.gov
    9. Rep. Donna Pfautsch: donna.pfautsch@house.mo.gov
    10. Rep. Lynn Morris: lynn.morris@house.mo.gov
    11. Rep. Jeff Messenger: jeff.messenger@house.mo.gov
    12. Rep. Kent Hampton: kent.hampton@house.mo.gov
    13. Rep. Lyndall Fraker: lyndall.fraker@house.mo.gov


  • Senate Bill 509 Doesn’t Add Up: Tax Cuts Detrimental to Missouri’s Schools

    Passage in the Missouri Senate of a bill that would cut taxes by an estimate $620 million is bad news for public education in Missouri, which is already severely underfunded.

    The bill, sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus (R-Lee’s Summit) cuts individual income tax rates and phases in an increased deduction on business income reported on an individual’s tax return. The bill has been passed by the senate and will go to the Missouri House later this week.

    Of course, it would be nice to save a few dollars on individual income taxes, but what would you say if you knew that for every dollar you saved on your taxes, a students’ educational investment was reduced by three times that amount?

    The Missouri Department of Revenue estimates that there are 2.75 million tax-paying residents in the state. Kraus’s $620 million in tax cuts would create a per-person savings of around $225 per year, while the state’s Foundation Formula for education is currently underfunding the average Missouri public school student by $700 per year.

    Is $225 per year in individual savings worth cheating an elementary or secondary school student in Missouri of $700 in school supplies, transportation provisions, and teachers’ salaries? Governor Nixon doesn’t think so:

    "At a time when public education is more important than ever to the strength of our economy, Senate Bill 509 would permanently undermine Missouri's ability to support K-12 and higher education. In fact, with a price tag of more than $620 million annually, Senate Bill 509 is the equivalent of wiping out the investments needed to fully fund our K-12 foundation formula and keep college affordable. Once again, the choice facing members of the General Assembly is clear: they can invest in good schools and create good jobs or they can support reckless fiscal experiments, but they cannot do both." – Gov. Jay Nixon (source)

    If you’re the parent of a Missouri public school student, consider the return on your investment: Does it make sense to possibly save $225, knowing that that same savings would cost your child $700? We urge you to contact your Legislator immediately to ask them to vote against SB509 when it’s raised in the House on Thursday.


  • Neighboring States: Oklahoma Fights for Funding



    25,000 supporters of public schools, educators, parents and students convened in Oklahoma City in late March in the largest advocacy effort the state has seen for public education in 24 years. Despite Oklahoma’s public school attendance increasing by 40,000 students since 2009, funding for the state’s public education has fallen by $200 million. Advocates came together at the state’s capitol to bring attention to the shortfall.

    Those in attendance made it clear that their request for additional funding was for students’ benefit, not their own. As Sarah Caldwell, a 30-year-old teacher in Midwest City-Del City told The Oklahoman, “Sure, I would love another couple of bucks in my pocket. But my students would really like technology in the classroom, adequate supplies, textbooks, all of that.”

    State Representative Lee Denney (R-Cushing) is the principal author of a bill that would provide a stable stream of funding to Oklahoma public schools. Rep. Denney sees funding as a critical tool in teacher retention and in preventing well as classroom over-crowding:

    “It’s time for our legislature to recognize that our schools cannot continue to serve the state’s 678,000 students in crowded classrooms. We cannot continue to implement the major education reforms and attract and retain (top) educators.” (source)

    Oklahoma Parent Teacher Association (PTA) President Jeffrey Corbett also spoke on behalf of the state’s teachers.

    “We must invest in teachers and give them support,” he said. “We cannot do that with bargain-basement funding and unsustainable wages. It is time to turn our classrooms back over to our teachers.” (source)

    Oklahoma is currently ranked 49th in the nation in per-student education funding with funding levels that are nearly 23 percent below 2008 pre-recession levels. The Oklahoma legislature, like Missouri’s, is considering possible tax cuts that would further-limit public education funding.

    For comparison, Missouri currently has more than 917,000 students enrolled in our public schools and faces a more than $620 million shortfall to the Foundation Formula.

    You may also be interested in:

    Understanding the Foundation Formula

    Learn About the Foundation Formula

    Tax Cuts Don't Benefit Students

  • Spring Break is a Time for Action

    This is the week the Missouri Legislature takes its annual spring break. This usually signifies the halfway mark of the legislative session and allows our elected officials to reconnect with their constituents. Spring break is also a great time for you to discuss important public education issues with your state representatives and senators.

    So far this session there has been lengthy discussion on issues such as education funding, transfers of students from unaccredited school districts and tax cuts which would greatly impact your local schools.

    Missouri Parent has carefully watched and reported on these topics through our website and social media. You have probably read and shared our content with your fellow parents.

    When it comes to education funding, the legislature has chosen to ignore the budget recommendations of Governor Nixon and only commit to an additional $122 million towards the Foundation Formula. This legislative proposal, while appreciated, still leaves the state more than $478 million behind in funding our public schools. Our position: Work to fully fund the Foundation Formula. TWEET THIS

    Regarding student transfers, of the many bills which have been filed and debated, Missouri Parent only fully supports HB 2037 filed by Rep. Jeanie Lauer (R-Blue Springs). Thank Rep. Lauer HERE. This bill creates a proactive system of dealing with struggling school districts, protects the students who are left behind in our few failing districts, brings education professionals in as the problem solvers instead of hired gun bureaucrats and protects the investments made by Missouri’s taxpayers into all of our schools. Our position: Fix broken schools and protect students first. TWEET THIS

    Finally, when it comes to tax cuts, we stand with Governor Nixon and legislators who will only support tax cuts which take effect when the Foundation Formula is fully funded. The Governor vetoed last year’s risky tax cut idea and will probably do the same to any bill which does not protect funding for public schools. Our position: Fully fund public schools before any tax cuts become reality. TWEET THIS

    We ask you to take a moment this week to contact your local legislators and ask them to support public schools at the local and state level. When the legislators come back next week, discussions will run fast and furious to pass all the required legislation by their deadlines in May. Your input may be the voice they need to hear to truly fully fund, protect students, and build the future of our public schools in Missouri. TWEET THIS


  • Missouri Senate Gives First Round Approval to School Transfer Bill


  • Highlights on Missouri House Education Committee Hearing on Common Core

  • Public Schools Face Increased Costs of Doing Business


    The Missouri General Assembly is in session, and once again, tax breaks for businesses are on the table. HB 1253, sponsored by Representative T.J. Berry (R-Kearney) — the same representative who sponsored last year’s HB 253 — promise these breaks to businesses across the state.

    As you may remember, HB 253 was vetoed by Governor Nixon and the override attempt by the legislature failed.

    Missouri’s General Revenue provides approximately 84% of public education funding. If HB1253 passes, the state’s General Revenue is expected to fall between $71 million and $347 million per year.

    Businesses in Missouri face increased operating costs in 2014, including:
    · Increased insurance costs
    · Increased transportation costs
    · Increased litigation costs
    · Increased technology expenses

    The same can be said for Missouri’s K-12 public schools.

    Missouri’s public school systems face all of the same increased costs of doing business that businesses do: Insurance, transportation, litigation, and technology costs are all on the rise for Missouri’s schools. HB 1253 and similar pieces of legislation will reduce taxes for business, but it won’t help schools.

    In fact, it could hurt them by reducing the General Revenue.

    In FY2013, Missouri’s Foundation Formula for public schools was already underfunded by $621 million. Our students can’t afford HB 1253’s additional $71 million to $347 million hit on the General Revenue.

    Missouri Parent will continue to keep you informed throughout the legislative session. Be sure to subscribe to email updates and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the most immediate news on legislative and funding issues that affect Missouri public school students.

    What Can You Do? 

  • Tax Breaks Don’t Benefit Students

    Dozens of Missouri representatives from across party lines stood strong in 2013 against Missouri House Bill 253. The bill, which was touted as an economic development bill, centered on business tax cuts that were detrimental to state funding for public schools.

    Now that Missouri’s new legislative session is underway, another bill has emerged that is reminiscent of HB 253.

    Like HB 253, HB 1253 establishes tax breaks for Missouri businesses. The bill is sponsored by Representative T.J. Berry (R-Kearney) — the same representative who sponsored HB 253, but it is narrower in scope than HB 253 was.

    In a testimony against HB 1253 by the School Administrator’s Coalition to the Ways & Means Committee, the Coalition pointed out to the committee that Missouri’s state-level education funding is some of the worst in the nation.

    The reduced state revenues created by HB 1253’s tax cuts will undercut already-low funding for Missouri’s schools.

    Since 2008, Missouri’s public schools have seen:
    · A 50% cut to early childhood education in the Parents As Teachers Program.
    · A $10 million cut to low-income early childhood education.
    · A 70% cut to transportation.
    · The elimination of Career Ladder.
    · Stagnate state funding coming to their schools.

    The Missouri Foundation Formula was underfunded by $621 million in FY2013, and nearly 84% of Missouri’s education funding comes from the General Revenue; a fund which is expected to be hit hard by the tax breaks supported by HB 1253.

    Our schools can’t afford to lose any more state funding, which is why, at this time, Missouri Parent does not support Missouri HB 1253.

    One of our goals at Missouri Parent is to keep you — the Missouri public school parent — informed on legislative and funding issues that affect your child’s public education. As the Second Regular Session of the 97th Missouri General Assembly moves forward, we’ll continue to post relevant updates and advocacy topics here on the Missouri Parent Blog.

    The Senate version of this bill is SB 509 sponsored by Senator Will Kraus of Jackson County.

    To learn more about funding and legislation that affects Missouri’s public schools, be sure to read these posts from the Missouri Parent Blog:

    Where Does Missouri’s Public Education Funding Come From?
    State-Level Funding for Missouri Public Schools
    What Missouri Educators Are Doing to Fight HB 253
    These Legislators Stood Strong for Education in Missouri

    What Can You Do?

    Contact Your Legislators

    Tweet: Tax cuts do not benefit public school students in Missouri: http://ctt.ec/f6Br_+ #MoLeg #FundMoEdClick the bird tweet a supportive message


  • Learn About the Missouri Foundation Formula

    This is Part II of a two-part post explaining the Missouri Foundation Formula. For Part I, please click here

    Previously, we discussed two of the four key components of the Missouri Foundation Formula: Weighted Average Daily Attendance (WADA) and The State Adequacy Target (SAT). Today, we’ll explain the third and four components of the Formula: The Dollar Value Modifier (DVM) and Local Effort.

    The Dollar Value Modifier (DVM)
    The Dollar Value Modifier is an index of the relative purchasing power of a dollar across the state of Missouri. In other words, the DVM accounts for the various costs of living in different communities.

    The DVM comes into play in the Foundation Formula by providing more money to schools that operate in areas with higher costs of living.

    It’s important to understand that while schools in more expensive parts of the state receive additional funding to help cover their operational costs, schools in areas with lower costs of living do not experience a removal of funding. Funds in the Foundation Formula are never reduced as a result of lower cost of living in a school district.

    Local Effort
    While the WADA, SAT, and DVM help determine the total target amount of money that it should cost to adequately and equitably educate Missouri’s public school students, Local Effort describes the portion of that total cost that can be generated by local sources like property taxes.

    After calculating WADA, SAT, and DVM, the state subtracts Local Effort. The difference is the amount of money that the state must provide in order to ensure that the spending target is met for each student.

    The result of this final piece of the Foundation Formula is that in communities where more school funding can be generated locally, the state offers less fiscal support. The reverse is also true: in areas where less local funding is available for schools, the state’s Foundation Formula helps make up the difference to ensure that enough funding is provided so that students across the state — regardless of local wealth — receive an adequate public education.

    Summary
    This two-part post was intended to give you a broad understanding of what the Missouri Foundation Formula is and why it matters for Missouri’s public schools. To learn more about recent advocacy for full funding of the Formula, read our post, Exciting News for the Missouri School Funding Formula.

    To receive regular updates on Missouri’s education policies and education news, follow Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter. For updates delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for Missouri Parent emails at the top of this page.

     

  • An Extended School Year for Missouri’s Students?


    Edua

    Of the twelve identified key issues discussed during the Missouri House Interim Committee on Education’s October 2013 public hearings, some are receiving more public attention than others. Among them is what the Committee called “School calendar and extended learning”.

    In short, the feedback that the Committee gathered during the public hearings that
    · Summer holidays result in too many weeks of the fall term being spent “making up lost ground”.
    · The students who are already suffering the biggest learning gaps suffer even more from that “lost ground” each fall.

    At the end of the hearings, the Committee released a formal report, in which it recommended that Missouri’s schools implement a longer school calendar.

    This isn’t the first time that extending Missouri’s school calendar has come up in legislative discussions. It’s been on the table since the 1980s, and has received bi-partisan support throughout the years.

    As the 2nd Regular Session of the 97th General Assembly continues, we’ll keep you informed about legislative updates that could affect the length of the public school year in Missouri.

  • Governor Nixon Proposes Increases to Education Funding

    Click the image above for the full Formula Projections Report (PDF)

    On January 21, 2014, Governor Jay Nixon gave his State of the State address to a joint gathering of the Missouri Legislature. The address included calls to increase funding for public K-12 education in Fiscal Year 2015.

    Under the Governor's proposed budget an additional $278 million is appropriated to the Foundation Formula for Missouri's public schools. The Foundation Formula had a more than $620 million shortfall after the Fiscal Year 2014 appropriations process. 

    The Governor's proposed budget is just the first step in the appropriations process. Next the Missouri House will craft and pass a proposed budget which will then be sent to the Missouri Senate for their consideration. Both bodies must agree on a final budget for FY2015 by May 9, 2014. You can learn more about the legislative process in Missouri here

    You can read a projection of what each individual school district would receive if the budget were to pass as proposed here

    Other headlines from the State of the State include:

    Nixon Spells Out Plan to Boost Preschool Funding

    Governor, Legislature Already Split on Budget

    Video of the State of the State Address

  • Wraparound Services for Missouri’s K-12 Public School Students

    In October, the Missouri House Interim Committee on Education identified 12 educational issues that were of interest to stakeholders around the state. One of those issues was called wraparound services.

    As the legislature reconvenes for the 97th General Assembly, wraparound services may be a subject that you begin hearing more about. This post is designed to help you better-understand what wraparound is and what it means in context of Missouri’s public schools.

    What the Committee Says About Wraparound Services:

    · Wraparound services can “make an enormous difference in a student’s life”.
    · Wraparound services “are not a panacea; to be most effective, they must be fine-tuned to each district's circumstances”.
    · The wraparound services in many districts are the result of individuals (a principal, a staff member, or a district patron) connecting resources in the community to student needs.

    What, Exactly, are Wraparound Services?

    According to the National Wraparound Initiative:

    “Since the term was first coined in the 1980s, “wraparound” has been defined in different ways. It has been described as a philosophy, an approach, and a service. In recent years, wraparound has been most commonly conceived of as anintensive, individualized care planning and management process.” (source)

    What Does Wraparound Mean for Missouri Schools?

    Wraparound services are collaborative programs between community organizations and schools. In most cases, those collaborations result in the creation of Individualized Treatment Plans (ITPs) for students who need them. The school, the student, the student’s family and the community organizations involved in the wraparound service work together to implement the student’s ITP.

    The exact services provided in a student’s ITP vary from one child to the next, but they can be social, behavioral, educational, or nutritional in nature. Some specific examples include:

    · Counseling
    · Foster or group home care
    · Medical care (examples include vision care or help with managing asthma)
    · Afterschool programs
    · Tutoring
    · Truancy prevention programs
    · English Language Learning (ELL )support

    Wraparound Services are Close to Home

    One of the key elements of Missouri’s wraparound services is that they’re close to home. Each community pairs schools, students, and resources as needed. The result is that wraparound services are unique from one community to the next.

    There is no one entity that manages wraparound services, so to learn more about the services available in your own community or at your child’s school, we suggest contacting a school counselor or principal.

    Want to Learn More?

    To learn more about the Missouri House Interim Committee on Education, see these Missouri Parent posts:

    Missouri Interim Committee on Education Hearing Results
    The Missouri House Interim Committee on Education Public Hearing Schedule
    The Missouri House Interim Committee on Education October Hearings
    Highlights of Recent Missouri Education Hearings

    To learn more about the current Missouri Legislative Session? Click here.


  • The Missouri Legislative Session Begins

    Today, January 8, 2014, marked the beginning of another session of the Missouri Legislature. This marks the Second Regular Session of the 97th General Assembly.

    As the Missouri Parent project also exists to inform our audience of public policy issues which impact public education in our state, you will begin to see more content published here and shared across our social media about the activities of our elected officials.

    We would like to share a couple general pieces of information you may find helpful as the session works its way towards completion in May.

    If there are any other questions you have about our policy discussions, the legislature or issues you would like to see addressed, please leave a comment below or contact us at any time.

  • Missouri Interim Committee on Education Hearing Results


    In October 2013, the Missouri House of Representatives Interim Committee on Education toured Missouri in a series of public education hearings.

    Representatives talked with communities across the state about issues surrounding Missouri K-12 public education, and on December 2, 2013, the Committee published a report summarizing the process, locations & dates, and findings from the statewide hearings.

    As the Missouri Legislature reconvenes this week, we provide a brief overview of its findings and recommendations:

    School Transfers
    The Committee recommends, at a minimum, limiting tuition to a single amount. In addition, the Committee recommends statutory changes that would prescribe scope of control over acceptable numbers of and conditions for student transfers

    Early Childhood Education
    “The most enthusiastically recommended and most often mentioned possibility for long term improvement of academic achievement was early childhood education.”

    “...the budget and appropriations committees will need to determine the scope of any possible increase [in funding] and decide if existing methods of fund delivery are sufficient.”

    School Calendar and Extended Learning
    An overall increase in learning time for every student, especially for struggling students and districts is recommended by the Committee.

    Career and Technical Education (CTE)
    “Career and technical education is the state’s best channel for providing the foundation for a good job that might not require a bachelor’s degree.”

    The Committee hopes that changes to the CTE governance and communication structures (in SB 9 (2013)) will remedy parent and teacher concerns that MSIP standards don’t recognize the value of CTE programs.

    Wraparound Services
    “Services to address problems such as hunger, bad vision, and medical conditions that hinder academic achievement can make an enormous difference in a student’s life…To be most effective, they must be fine-tuned to each district’s circumstances.”

    Parent-Community-School Relationships and Transparency
    “Good schools reach out to the community and parents…Schools that meet parents more than halfway usually get better results.”

    Virtual Learning
    The state’s job in virtual learning, “is to safeguard the quality of the instruction and curriculum while providing access to more students for more subjects.”

    Educator Preparation
    “The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has raised the bar for teacher education and principal/administrator development programs requiring more rigorous standards…Changing teacher preparation standards goes hand-in-hand with changing student standards and assessments, and evaluations.”

    Educator Evaluation
    Teachers voiced a desire to see evaluations consistently and fairly administered. “More walk-throughs with quick feedback work better than observing a teacher once for an hour…Developing the capacity of principals and others to provide useful feedback is a priority.”

    Tenure
    “Ideally, effective teachers are coached into being more effective or coached out of the profession…Tenure has historically been linked with getting into the profession; however, the standards for staying in the profession and for continuous improvement of performance are a newer development.”

    Common Core Standards and Assessments
    “The most heated testimony heard by the committee concerned the Common Core State Standards initiative. It was apparent that a disconnect has occurred in two areas — the first, between some districts and some of their patrons, and the second, between the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the average Missouri parent.”

    “The Committee remains concerned over the issue and will be watchful to protect the openness of all processes related to it, especially the statutory protection for curriculum as a local decision (160.514, subsection 3).”

    School Safety
    “The Committee did not receive much testimony on school safety, despite a number of recent incidents of school violence in other states. The Committee’s hope is that the lack of testimony results from most parents believing their children are safe in the state’s schools.”

    You can download and save a PDF of the Committee’s full report by clicking here.

    Missouri Parent will be discussing all of these issues in greater depth, from our perspective, and through out the legislative session this year. For more about the Interim Committee on Education’s October 2013 education hearings, read these posts from the Missouri Parent Blog:

    The Missouri House Interim Committee on Education October Hearings
    Highlights of Recent Missouri Education Hearings
    These Legislators Stood Strong for Public Education in Missouri

  • Is Average Good Enough? 2013 Nation’s Report Card Released

    The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) released the 2013 Nation’s Report Card recently, and the results beg the question, “is average good enough for Missouri’s students?”.

    The report, which focused this year on math and reading scores in the 4th and 8th grades, showed that Missouri’s students still need our support in fundamental subjects like reading and math.

    While each of Missouri’s individual scores remained the same (or showed slight improvements) from 2011 to 2013, national average scores increased more substantially. In other words, Missouri held steady while the rest of the country improved — on average at least. Here’s a closer look:

    4th Grade Mathematics
    National Rank: #49*
    National Average Score: 241
    Missouri’s Score: 240
    Percent of students nationally scoring at or above proficient: 41%
    Percent of students in Missouri scoring at or above proficient: 33%
    Change from 2011 to 2013: No Change in Missouri; 1 point increase nationally

    8th Grade Mathematics
    National Rank: #33*
    National Average Score: 284
    Missouri’s Score: 283
    Percent of students nationally scoring at or above proficient: 26
    Percent of students in Missouri scoring at or above proficient: 26
    Change from 2011 to 2013: 1 point increase in Missouri; 1 point increase nationally

    4th Grade Reading
    National Rank: #27*
    National Average Score: 221
    Missouri’s Score: 222
    Percent of students nationally scoring at or above proficient: 26
    Percent of students in Missouri scoring at or above proficient: 28
    Change from 2011 to 2013: 2 point increase in Missouri; 1 point increase nationally

    8th Grade Reading
    National Rank: #27*
    National Average Score: 266
    Missouri’s Score: 267
    Percent of students nationally scoring at or above proficient: 31%
    Percent of students in Missouri scoring at or above proficient: 32%
    Change from 2011 to 2013: No Change in Missouri; 2 point change nationally

    Source for Scores

    As the parent of a student in Missouri’s public schools, you probably don’t believe that “average” is good enough for your son or daughter. Rest assured that Missouri’s educational leaders don’t so, either.

    Missourians at all levels (local educators, state legislators, and educational advocates) have been bustling in 2013 to make positive changes in Missouri’s public education system.

    From fighting to preserve educational funding to proposing workable alternatives to the Missouri school transfer law, leaders have been making the case for your child’s right to a high quality public education in the state.

    Here some examples:

    · During the last session of the Missouri Legislature, a number of legislators helped prevent a state tax cut that would have been detrimental to Missouri’s funding of public schools.
    · The Missouri Association of School Administrators, the Cooperating School Districts of St. Louis and the Cooperating School Districts of Great Kansas City recently proposed an alternative to Missouri’s school transfer law.
    · The Missouri House Interim Committee on Education just finished a statewide tour to hear from parents, teachers, administrators and communities about what’s working and what’s not working in Missouri’s public schools. (Click here for highlights)
    · The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education continues to work on the “Top 10 by 20” student achievement improvement effort

    If you want to become more informed and involved in what’s happening in your child’s education, Missouri Parent can help. We’re here to provide you with accurate and timely information on educational funding and legislative issues that impact your family.

    * Rank is out of 52 total “states” including Department of Defense (DoDEA) schools and District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.)

    You may also be interested in:

    Missouri’s 4th and 8th Grade Science Students Top 20 in Nation


  • The Missouri House Interim Committee on Education October Hearings

    Missouri Parent invites you to attend, learn more about the legislative process regarding education in Missouri and have your voice heard as the Missouri House of Representatives Interim Committee on Education holds a round of hearings in October in Hannibal, Maryville, Kansas City, Warrensburg, and Columbia.

    This is the second part of the committee’s work schedule as they met previously in locations across the state in September.

    As this an interim committee, there are not specific pieces of current legislation being discussed but issues from the past, present and future regarding education, specifically K-12 public education, are on the table for discussion.

    The Missouri Parent program is concerned with the following priority policy issues:

    School Transfers: Any solution for schools with accreditation issues must help all of the students of that school. We must ask if it is better to bus some students to new schools while leaving behind other at-risk students? Transfers also drive up the transportation and operations costs of the unaccredited school leaving them less resources as they work to fix their issues.

    Teacher Tenure: Perhaps one of the biggest misperceptions about teacher tenure in Missouri is that tenured teachers are protected from involuntary dismissal. Yet this continues to be a returning point of discussion for the Legislature and may possibly end up on the election ballot soon. You can learn more about this and other tenure myths here.

    Funding the Foundation Formula: As we have discussed on our blog before only 31.76% of school funding in Missouri comes from the state. Missouri underfunded the formula by $621 million in fiscal year 2013 and only expects to fund public education with an additional $66 million in fiscal year 2014. To truly provide a world class education, the legislature should fully fund the foundation formula as promised so full focus can be returned to the classrooms across our state instead of the weakening balance sheets of many of our schools. 

    The above policy issues are sure to be discussed at the committee hearings. Additional policy issues which may be discussed include:
    · Establishing an A-F grading system for our public schools. Missouri Parent is against this.
    · Increasing Early Childhood Education opportunities across the state. Missouri Parent supports this.
    · Expansion of School Choice options through vouchers. Missouri Parent is against this.
    · Implementation of the Common Core program. Missouri Parent is for this.
    · Increasing Economic Development activities in Missouri. Missouri Parent is for this.

    We invite you to attend one or more of the interim hearings across the state. We also invite you to contact us at any time to discuss these hearings, these issues, or how you might get more involved in the Missouri Parent program.

    The Hearing Schedule

    · Date: Monday, October 21, 2013
    Time: 3:30 PM

    Location: Parker Theater Lobby in the Roland Fine Arts Center on the campus of Hannibal-LaGrange College, 2800 Palmyra Road, Hannibal, MO

    · Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
    Time: 1:00 PM
    Location: Student Union Board Room, Maryville University, 800 University Drive, Maryville, Missouri

    · Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
    Time: 7:00 PM
    Location: Atterbury Student Success Center Pierson Auditorium Room 245 UMKC 5000 Homes, Kansas City, MO

    · Date: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
    Time: 1:00 PM
    Location: Elliott Union Room 237 A & B University of Central Missouri 511 South Holden Warrensburg, Missouri

    · Date: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
    Time: 7:00 PM
    Location: Reynolds Alumni Center University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri





  • Teacher Tenure and Teacher Shortages in the State of Missouri

    On September 11th, the Missouri State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education met for the second of four hearings on teacher tenure and human resources in Missouri. The state’s teacher tenure policies were debated, and specific areas of teacher shortages were identified.

    The debate over teacher tenure in Missouri isn’t new. Tenure supports believe that tenure promotes teaching as a valued profession, and that tenured teachers are best positioned to become student advocates. Supporters are concerned that eliminating teacher tenure will drive good teachers out of the state.

    Opponents of teacher tenure feel that tenure makes it too expensive and too difficult to fire ineffective teachers. As a result, according to those who oppose tenure, teachers remain in Missouri’s educational system who would otherwise be fired.

    The Joint Committee also discussed a Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education study showing teacher shortages during the 2013-14 academic year. The eleven areas of teacher shortage were identified as: blind/partially sighted aides; deaf/hearing impaired aides; English as a second language; gifted programs; severely developmentally delayed students; school psychologists; school psychological examiners; physics; foreign languages; and computers/information technology.

    To help you better understand teacher tenure in the State of Missouri, MOParent has published posts explaining teacher tenure and discussion of common misperceptions about tenure.

    To continue to stay up-to-date on Missouri’s public education news and policies, subscribe to Missouri Parent email updates at the top of this page and Like Missouri Parent on Facebook.

    ***

    Sources:
    KOMU
    Kansas City Star
    KBIA

  • The Missouri House Interim Committee on Education Public Hearing Schedule+

    The Missouri House Interim Committee on Education is taking a month-long tour across the state to hear from you — the Missouri public — on K-12 education in the state of Missouri.

    Missouri Parent encourages you to take an active role in your child’s public education by learning more about the hot-topic educational issues facing Missouri’s kids, and by sharing your ideas with the Missouri House Interim Committee on Education at one of the following hearings:

    Note: Not all Committee hearing details are published at this time. As Missouri Parent learns more details, we’ll share them on our Facebook Page.

    Education Hearing Times & Locations

    Monday, September 23 - Cottleville
    Time: 2:00 pm
    St. Charles Community College
    Social Sciences Building Auditorium
    4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive
    Cottleville, MO
    Monday, September 23 – Kirkwood

    Time: 7:00 pm
    St. Louis Community College at Meramec Campus
    Student Center Meeting Rooms SC200/SC201
    11333 Big Bend Road
    Kirkwood, MO
    Tuesday, September 24

    - Cape Girardeau
    Time: 2:00 pm
    Southeast Missouri State University
    Shuck Music Recital Hall
    River Campus
    1 University Plaza
    Cape Girardeau, MO

    Tuesday, September 24- Poplar Bluff

    Time: 7:00 pm

    Three Rivers Community College
    Tinnin Fine Arts Center School
    2080 Three Rivers Blvd.
    Poplar Bluff, MO
    Wednesday, September 25
    - Point Lookout
    Time: 1:00 pm
    College of the Ozarks
    Keeter Center
    One Opportunity Avenue
    Point Lookout. MO
    Wednesday, September 25- Joplin

    Time: 7:00 pm
    Missouri Southern State University
    Corley Auditorium
    3950 Newman Road
    Joplin, MO
    Monday, October 21- Hannibal

    Time: 3:30 pm
    Hannibal-LaGrange College
    Hannibal, MO
    (Specific location TBD)

    Tuesday, October 22 - Maryville
    Time: 1:00 pm
    Northwest Missouri State University
    Maryville, MO
    (Specific location TBD)

    Tuesday, October 22 - Kansas City
    Time: 7:00 pm
    Kansas City, MO
    (Specific location TBD)

    Wednesday, October 23 - Warrensburg
    Time: 1:00 pm
    University of Central Missouri
    Warrensburg, MO
    (Specific location TBD)

    To receive legislative updates directly in your inbox, subscribe today to Missouri Parent emails by submitting your email address and zip code at the top of this page.


3550 Amazonas Drive, Jefferson City, MO 65109. 573-638-4825

trg