Missouri Education Legislative Updates 2/17/11

Here are some updates and some additional bills to watch, as of this week.

HB179 Raises the compulsory school attendance age to 18 in all school districts unless the student has successfully completed 16 credits towards high school graduation. This bill also takes authority away from metropolitan school districts to adopt resolutions to the contrary of this legislation as is now allowed by law. Introduced on 1/12/11 with two readings and recommended to the Elementary and Education committee on 2/8/11

(2) Seventeen] eighteen years of age or having successfully completed sixteen credits 73 towards high school graduation [in all other cases. The school board of a metropolitan school district for which the compulsory attendance age is seventeen years may adopt a resolution to lower the compulsory attendance age to sixteen years; provided that such resolution shall take effect no earlier than the school year next following the school year during which the resolution  is adopted].

HB463 This bill is all about funding virtual schools. Homeschoolers need to watch this one if they plan to be part of virtual schools because this bill is heavily focused on federal funding for students of virtual schools and expanding charter schools. It could have the potential for identifying homeschoolers or mandating curriculum.

Such nonresident students shall be defined as virtual resident students.

For now we are just red flagging this one. We don’t want it to grow into issues of registration for homeschooling or mandating curriculum since the push is to have Common Core Standards be the rule throughout Missouri. Introduced on 2/9/11 and has had two readings to then be recommended to the Elementary and Secondary Education committee. It seems to be on the fast track.

SB20 was heard in committee on 2/9/11. To date there is no action listed on the General Assembly website, which means it is not dead, but has not advanced. It is still possible for this bill to advance on its own or be hidden in an omnibus bill before the end of the legislative session.

SB21 While scheduled to be heard in the 2/9/11 hearing it was not debated. Again, we are not out of the woods on these bills. They could end up being resurrected and voted through before the end of the session.

SB124 This bill was heard in the 2/9/11 committee hearing and holds the same status as SB20 and SB21.

Thank you to all who sent in testimonial forms for last week’s hearings. Being informed and engaged is the best way to ensure freedom and influence your representation. We hope the legislators understand that homeschooling must remain free from extraneous mandates and restrictions. It is preferable to see these bills that threaten parental rights and homeschooling freedoms to die as soon as possible, this legislative session.

Head Scratcher of the Week SB222, introduced by Senator Jane Cunningham, basically eliminates restrictions on the child labor laws. Read it for yourself, folks. I can’t even imagine what she was thinking when she introduced this one. It has received two readings and has been referred to General Laws on 2/10/11.

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