Missouri legislators are certainly earning their pay this year. While they aren’t going for the big power grab with one single piece of legislation, they certainly have peppered the session with lots of small attempts to chip away at your educational freedom. Here are a couple of other bills you should watch and be aware of.
HB 179 This bill raises compulsory school age for everybody, to 18 years of age. If your homeschooled child can show they have completed course work to satisfy 16 credit hours, they are exempt. It also takes away, previously allowed by law, the ability of metropolitan school districts to lower the age to sixteen by resolution of their school boards. This is another veiled bill to advance Educated Citizenry 2020. EC2020 seeks to mandate educational control of all students from pre-K to age 20. Hence, multiple bills in the legislature, this session, to change compulsory school age on both ends.
This bill has been referred to committee.
… strengthening the P-20 pipeline will encourage communication between all levels of the education community and the business sector to ensure that Missouri’s schools and institutions are meeting the demands of the workforce both in quality and area of preparation. …
Provide parents and early childhood educators with the information they need to see that all children enter kindergarten on par with their peers and ready to learn. Formalize DESE’s existing school readiness standards by requiring that standards be distributed to parents, early childhood educators, and school districts. School readiness assessment data and information on prekindergarten experiences for all kindergartners shall be included in core data reporting requirements.
Advance efforts to support voluntary, universal prekindergarten. Explore potential funding sources for prekindergarten education including federal funding. The Committee would like to note that there was not unanimous support for the prekindergarten recommendations.
HB 463 This bill focuses on Virtual Schools. Educated Citizenry is very focused on advancing Charter Schools and Virtual Schools.
The Committee also formulated ideas for improving provisionally accredited and unaccredited schools, including the need to continue to investigate alternative school models such as virtual schools and charter schools.
HB 463 mainly addresses funding for virtual schools. It is very important for homeschoolers to understand that virtual schools probably pose the most serious threat to homeschooling freedoms than any other issue in education reform. If you decide to participate in virtual schools, on a full or part time basis, you would certainly be required to register with the state as a participant, and funding, of course would be an issue. With that would absolutely come the mandates and restrictions of government control. It is something all homeschoolers should be aware of and keep in mind as they make decisions in the future whether or not they want to participate in virtual school program. This bill has also been referred to committee.
Homeschooling families in Missouri and across the country should be very aware of the legislative developments in Illinois. Illinois is the testing ground for government takeover of educational freedom. Please continue to watch closely the developments of SB 136. While Arne Duncan was the Chicago Education Secretary, before he joined the Obama administration’s Department of Education, he made it very clear that putting homeschooling under the mandates and control of the government was his goal.