Capitol Report | July 7th, 2016

Major Education Bill Makes The Grade

Recently Governor Nixon has signed or vetoed numerous bills, as the constitutional deadline (July 14th) approaches for executive action on legislation passed by the General Assembly.

One particular piece of legislation that the governor just signed will make several notable changes to education in Missouri. SB 638, sponsored by Jeanie Riddle, contains several various educational provisions.

One portion of the bill aims to promote American history and civics education in Missouri classrooms. The bill creates the Missouri Civics Education Initiative to require students in public, charter, and private high schools to receive a passing grade on a standardized civics test in order to graduate.

Another portion was passed to help better prepare young people for college and the workplace. The legislation requires school districts to implement a system for identifying students in their ninth grade year who are at risk of not being ready for college-level work or for entry-level career positions. The legislation was supported by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which conducted a study that found that only 15 percent of Missouri businesses are preparing students for the workplace.

Yet another provision of the bill will expand the state’s A+ Scholarship Program to be available to private school students in Missouri. Currently, the program provides scholarship funds to eligible graduates of A+ designated high schools who attend a participating public community college or vocational/technical school, or certain private two-year vocational/technical schools. The new provision will now make the scholarship program available to students in participating private schools.

A fourth provision of the bill will provide additional resources and assistance to young people with dyslexia. This bill requires each public school to screen students for dyslexia and related disorders at appropriate times.

You may read in more detail about what is happening at your State Capitol below. As always, I will work diligently for you as your State Representative.

-Jason

Recently Governor Nixon has signed or vetoed numerous bills, as the constitutional deadline (July 14th) approaches for executive action on legislation passed by the General Assembly.

One particular piece of legislation that the governor just signed will make several notable changes to education in Missouri. SB 638, sponsored by Jeanie Riddle, contains several various educational provisions.

Civics Education (SB 638)

One portion of SB 638 aims to promote American history and civics education in Missouri classrooms. The bill creates the Missouri Civics Education Initiative to require students in public, charter, and private high schools to receive a passing grade on a standardized civics test in order to graduate. Exams will consist of the same 100 questions used on the civics portion of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ U.S. Naturalization test that is taken by immigrants looking to gain American citizenship. All students entering ninth grade after July 1, 2017, will now be required to receive a passing grade on the civics test. The bill is meant to empower students with a thorough knowledge of the country’s history and system of government.

Preparing Students for College and the Workplace (SB 638)

Another portion of SB 638 was passed to help better prepare young people for college and the workplace. The legislation requires school districts to implement a system for identifying students in their ninth grade year who are at risk of not being ready for college-level work or for entry-level career positions.

The legislation was supported by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which conducted a study that found that only 15 percent of Missouri businesses are preparing students for the workplace. As the Chamber has noted, Missouri employers spend millions of dollars each year as they try to develop the skills that new employees need to succeed in the workplace. The problem persists nationwide as well as approximately 25 percent of students entering college have to take remedial coursework. These remedial courses to get kids up to speed academically have an annual cost of more than $1.5 billion.

To help address this problem in Missouri, the legislation approved by the General Assembly will require schools to develop a remediation program by 2018. With this, students will have the opportunity to develop a personal plan of study that includes graduation requirements, career or postsecondary goals, coursework related to career or postsecondary goals, and grade-appropriate and career-related experiences. The goal is to empower kids to develop the skills and knowledge that will allow them to succeed and college and the workplace.

A+ School Expansion (SB 638)

Another portion of SB 638, which was signed into law by the governor, will expand the state’s A+ Scholarship Program to be available to private school students in Missouri. Currently, the program provides scholarship funds to eligible graduates of A+ designated high schools who attend a participating public community college or vocational/technical school, or certain private two-year vocational/technical schools. The legislation approved by the General Assembly will make the scholarship program available to students in participating private schools. Supporters of the change noted that parents of private school students pay taxes to help fund the state’s scholarship programs. They said it only makes sense to allow their children to benefit from the taxpayer-funded A+ program as well.

Supporting Students with Dyslexia (SB 638)

Yet another component of SB 638 that is now set to become law will provide additional resources and assistance to young people with dyslexia. This bill requires each public school to screen students for dyslexia and related disorders at appropriate times. In addition, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must develop guidelines for the appropriate screening of students and the necessary classroom supports. The requirements and guidelines must be consistent with the findings and recommendations of the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia, which is also created by the bill.

I am committed to serve the constituents of the 120th District, so please feel free to contact my office anytime at 573-751-1688. Your District 120 Capitol office is 201 W Capitol Ave, Rm 115H, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

 

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