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Saturday, January 29, 2022

New scholarship program, push by parents point path forward for more Missouri school choice in 2022

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Defeated Virginia ex-governor. Terry McAuliffe has learned the hard way what principals and parents of classroom parents have known for a long time: When it comes to education, underestimate parents at your own risk.

The decisive victory for Republican businessman Glenn Yongkin in early November was spurred by his support for greater parental involvement in public education. Yongkin’s approach presented a stark contrast when compared to McAuliffe’s unintended moment of honesty when he said, “I don’t think parents should tell schools what they should teach.”

Country Representative Phil Cristofanelli

As a year approaches a pandemic, the shortcomings of a one-size-fits-all approach to education in Missouri are becoming more apparent. Fortunately, more schools will soon be selected, with State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick launching a new scholarship program for Missouri K-12, Scientists.

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Founded by the General Assembly and signed into law this year by Governor Mike Parson, MOScholars, Missouri’s Enabling Grant Account (ESA) program, provides increased educational options to thousands of Missouri students and families, particularly those with special needs or those with limited resources.

Eligible students will be eligible for scholarships of up to $6,375 annually for approved educational services ranging from tutoring, textbooks, and computer technology to private school tuition, homeschooling expenses, and tuition to attend public charter schools or local schools outside the student’s designated area.

This tax credit funded program, which is sponsored by enabling legislation, will be funded entirely through donations from individuals and businesses.

Students in St. Louis and St. Charles counties are eligible for scholarships as are those who live in Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Jefferson City, Goblin, Kansas City, Springfield, St. Joseph, St. Louis, and Jackson, Jefferson, and Clay counties. Additional information about the program, including extended eligibility details, can be found at www.showmeschooloptions.org.

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With the 2022 hearing fast approaching, it’s time to turn our attention to other pro-parent and pro-student education measures, such as reforming an outdated accounting scale that deprives all public school students in our two largest cities of full equity.

These disparities – the result of a Flaw in 16-year-old Missouri’s education funding formula — It costs the average St. Louis public school student $2,500 compared to its St. Louis public school peer, and the Kansas City public school student averaged $1,700 compared to its Kansas City public school peer.

This is no small accounting error when you consider that more than half of the students in Kansas City, and nearly half of them in St. Louis, now attend independent public schools. With bipartisan support, the Missouri House of Representatives approved a legislative reform that would ensure equitable funding for accredited students, but the session ended before the Senate voted.

After years of unsuccessful efforts, the passage of the ESA was one of the defining accomplishments of our legislature in 2021. As my colleagues and I prepare to return to Jefferson City, let us not forget the golden rule of education policy: When it comes to educating our children, parents are the only private interest that we have. counts.

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