JC/DC ACTION ALERT: MO Empowerment Scholarships Account Program

** PLACED ON CALENDAR FOR FULL SENATE VOTE** Please contact your senator now!

SB 612 has been placed on the House Ways and Means Calendar.

SB 612 would establish the Show Me Opportunity Scholarship Program

The MO Empowerment Scholarship Program is a particular concern for PTA because this program would create an account that would allow taxpayers to make a qualifying contribution to an educational assistance organization and claim a tax credit, as described in the act. The tax credit is for one hundred percent of the amount of the contribution. The tax credit may be carried forward for four years and may be transferred, sold, or assigned. The scholarships will be used in private schools effectively creating a voucher system in Missouri.

Missouri PTA encourages you to contact your Senator now to let them know your feelings on this bill.

Dear Senator,

The MO Empowerment Scholarship Program is not good for students and parents, taxpayers and Missouri’s public schools for the following reasons:

Irresponsible expansion of tax credits when the state is facing massive shortfalls in the current budget. 

This is a voucher in a bad disguise.  This bill attempts to funnel public funds to private schools and home schools.  It also allows these funds to be spent on for-profit schools, including virtual schools, with no oversight.  This bill is not about seeking quality education for students. This bill is not about choice but about killing public education as we know it, with no assurances that education will be delivered at all. 

Lack of financial oversight of the schools receiving the funds. There is no accountability required of the schools receiving these funds.  These entities are not required to be located in Missouri or governed by Missouri residents.  These entities can be for-profit institutions created solely to earn money off of the backs of Missouri students.  They could be fly-by-night organizations that deliver no actual education, but profit at the expense of Missouri taxpayers.

Lack of educational oversight of the schools receiving the funds. These schools are not required to administer the MAP, identify or educate students with disabilities, or be accredited by any organization.   Missouri tax dollars will be spent for students to be taught by teachers without certification or the specialized knowledge to identify learning disabilities, dyslexia, etc.   The teachers and education providers receiving the funds are not even required to undergo a criminal background check.  Missouri tax dollars could be spent on services and therapies that are not educationally sound.  The bill states that a school “shall not be required to alter its creed, practices, admissions policy, or curriculum in order to accept students” under a scholarship, which means students with disabilities could be denied enrollment and students with disabilities can be refused specialized education.  Schools could deny enrollment based on economic status or grades.

Expands education beyond the age of 21.  Unlike free public education, which expires once the student turns 21 or graduates high school, parents and students may continue to receive these scholarships indefinitely as long as the student does not complete high school or passes a test for admission to college. 166.705.2

Please oppose SB 612 by voting no.

Sincerely,

Your name and PTA

Not sure how to contact your state legislators? Click here and insert your street address or 9-digit zip code.


Carla Wiese
Vice President & Director of Legislation and Advocacy
carlaw@mopta.org


JC/DC ACTION ALERT: Children in Adult Prisons

**CONTACT YOUR SENATOR NOW**

SB 793 has been placed on the calendar for full Senate vote.

Currently Missouri law incarcerates children who have been charged as adults in adult prisons.  While they have been charged with serious offences, these children have not yet been convicted of a crime. SB 793 would require children to be prosecuted in juvenile courts unless the child is certified as an adult or is being prosecuted for a traffic or curfew violation. Additionally, the bill specifies that no person under the age of 18 may be detained in an adult jail unless the person has been certified as an adult. This bill does NOT change the ability of the court to certify youth as adults for heinous crimes and hold these offenders in adult facilities.

*Thank you to all who sent emails to the Senate Judiciary Committee for getting this important bill out of committee. Please continue to engage legislators on social media using the #18in18 because 17 is too young! @molegislature @missouripta @raisetheageMO.

Dear Senator,

Children who commit serious crimes should be held accountable for their actions.  However, incarcerating children charged, but not convicted, in adult facilities is a sentence in itself.  Children are not the same as adults and until they are found guilty should be afforded extra protections.  When children are incarcerated in adult prisons they face a dramatically increased danger of sexual assault and have higher risks of suicide.  These facilities do not afford children the opportunities of education and rehabilitation services available in the juvenile detention system.  Instead of working to rehabilitate these children when their mental development is at its capacity to learn we are teaching them to be hardened criminals.

 The Missouri Model has long been the national model with regard to state juvenile justice systems. This allowance to house charged but not convicted children with adults is a flaw we need to recognize and correct.  Please vote yes on SB 793 to keep kids 17 and younger out of adult prisons.

Sincerely,

Your name and PTA

 Not sure how to contact your state legislators? Click here and insert your street address or 9-digit zip code.

 

Carla Wiese
VP Legislation and Advocacy
Missouri PTA
carlaw@mopta.org


JC/DC ACTION ALERT: MO Empowerment Scholarships Account Program

** PLACED ON CALENDAR FOR COMMITTEE HEARING** Please contact the House Ways and Means Committee now!

HB 2188 has been placed on the House Ways and Means Calendar.

HB 2188 would establish the Show Me Opportunity Scholarship Program

The Show Me Opportunity Scholarship Program is a particular concern for PTA because this program would create an account that would allow taxpayers to make a qualifying contribution to an educational assistance organization and claim a tax credit, as described in the act. The tax credit is for one hundred percent of the amount of the contribution. The tax credit may be carried forward for four years and may be transferred, sold, or assigned. The scholarships will be used in private schools effectively creating a voucher system in Missouri.

Missouri PTA encourages you to send emails to the House Ways and Means Committee to let them know your feelings on this bill.

Dear Representatives,

The Show Me Opportunity Scholarship Program is not good for students and parents, taxpayers and Missouri’s public schools for the following reasons:

Irresponsible expansion of tax credits when the state is facing massive shortfalls in the current budget. 

This is a voucher in a bad disguise.  This bill attempts to funnel public funds to private schools and home schools.  It also allows these funds to be spent on for-profit schools, including virtual schools, with no oversight.  This bill is not about seeking quality education for students. This bill is not about choice but about killing public education as we know it, with no assurances that education will be delivered at all. 

Lack of financial oversight of the schools receiving the funds. There is no accountability required of the schools receiving these funds.  These entities are not required to be located in Missouri or governed by Missouri residents.  These entities can be for-profit institutions created solely to earn money off of the backs of Missouri students.  They could be fly-by-night organizations that deliver no actual education, but profit at the expense of Missouri taxpayers.

Lack of educational oversight of the schools receiving the funds. These schools are not required to administer the MAP, identify or educate students with disabilities, or be accredited by any organization.   Missouri tax dollars will be spent for students to be taught by teachers without certification or the specialized knowledge to identify learning disabilities, dyslexia, etc.   The teachers and education providers receiving the funds are not even required to undergo a criminal background check.  Missouri tax dollars could be spent on services and therapies that are not educationally sound.  The bill states that a school “shall not be required to alter its creed, practices, admissions policy, or curriculum in order to accept students” under a scholarship, which means students with disabilities could be denied enrollment and students with disabilities can be refused specialized education.  Schools could deny enrollment based on economic status or grades.

Expands education beyond the age of 21.  Unlike free public education, which expires once the student turns 21 or graduates high school, parents and students may continue to receive these scholarships indefinitely as long as the student does not complete high school or passes a test for admission to college. 166.705.2

Please oppose HB 2188 by voting no.

Sincerely,

Your name and PTA

Not sure how to contact the Ways and Means Committee? Click here


Carla Wiese
Vice President & Director of Legislation and Advocacy
carlaw@mopta.org


JC/DC ACTION ALERT:  Children in Adult Prisons

SB 793 has been placed on the calendar for hearing in the Judiciary Committee.

Currently Missouri law incarcerates children who have been charged as adults in adult prisons.  While they have been charged with serious offences, these children have not yet been convicted of a crime. SB 793 would require children to be prosecuted in juvenile courts unless the child is certified as an adult or is being prosecuted for a traffic or curfew violation. Additionally, the bill specifies that no person under the age of 18 may be detained in an adult jail unless the person has been certified as an adult. This bill does NOT change the ability of the court to certify youth as adults for heinous crimes and hold these offenders in adult facilities.

Dear Senator,

Children who commit serious crimes should be held accountable for their actions.  However, incarcerating children charged, but not convicted, in adult facilities is a sentence in itself.  Children are not the same as adults and until they are found guilty should be afforded extra protections.  When children are incarcerated in adult prisons they face a dramatically increased danger of sexual assault and have higher risks of suicide.  These facilities do not afford children the opportunities of education and rehabilitation services available in the juvenile detention system.  Instead of working to rehabilitate these children when their mental development is at its’ capacity to learn we are teaching them to be hardened criminals.

 The Missouri Model has long been the national model with regard to state juvenile justice systems. This allowance to house charged but not convicted children with adults is a flaw we need to recognize and correct.  Please vote yes on SB 793 to keep kids 17 and younger out of adult prisons.

Sincerely,

You name and PTA

 

Senate Judiciary Committee:

Bob Dixon, Bob.Dixon@senate.mo.gov

Bob Onder, Bob.Onder@senate.mo.gov

Ed Emery, Ed.Emery@senate.mo.gov

Andrew Koenig, Andrew.Koenig@senate.mo.gov

Scott Sifton, Scott.Sifton@senate.mo.gov

 

Carla Wiese

VP Legislation and Advocacy

Missouri PTA

carlaw@mopta.org


JC/DC Join the Movement!

Download and use our fliers:

Male flier
Female flier

Join the Movement…

  • We cannot vote.
  • We cannot join the military.
  • We have not graduated from high school.
  • We have just begun to think about our future.
  • We are not adults!

BUT… we can be tried as adults and held in adult prisons.

Join the student led movement NOW to change the way we look at youth offenders. You can begin the conversation by posting the following to social media. #18in18 because 17 is to young. It is time to Raise the Age MO @molegislature @missouripta @raisetheageMO

Did you know Missouri is only one of five states that has not raised the age to 18?  Society has labeled 18 as an adult. Why have we not done the same with the justice system. Currently children as young as 12 can be held in adult facilities. We know children do not do well in adult prisons. Not only are they not able to continue with their education but are subject to horrific abuses at the hands of adult offenders. Missouri PTA asks all our Units but especially our student members to join the movement. Often youth do not feel their voice matters, this is an issue that may affect any of our youth.  Missouri legislators do listen to what constituents are saying via social media. Students, you can help us work for change by sharing and posting to social media the red post above. Not a student? Your help is just as important. This January join with us as we urge our legislators to Raise the Age and protect the children of Missouri.

For more information contact Will Wiese, Advocacy Chair at willw@mopta.org or Carla Wiese, Vice President of Legislation and Advocacy at carlaw@mopta.org.

 

Thank you,

Will Wiese

MO PTA Advocacy Chair


JC/DC ACTION ALERT: STOP THE POLITICIZATION OF DESE

Missouri’s State Board of Education is framed by the Missouri Constitution to be both bipartisan and independent of state politics.  This purposeful intent makes Missouri unique and our Department of Education has been afforded stability and flourished under this design.  Board members are appointed by the Governor and then approved by the Senate.

Over the last few months Governor Greitens has made five interim appointments and revoked the appointments of two appointees.  Currently the Senate is out of session and therefor has yet to review and approve or disapprove the appointments.  It has been widely reported the Governor wishes to have the current Commissioner removed in order to bring in an out-of-state individual. This individual is being brought in to appease political donors and forces from outside MO. This is in direct opposition to MO PTA’s stance that schools operate best under local control. A special meeting was called and a vote was taken. The motion was defeated however, this will not stop these individuals. December 1st the State Board of Education will convene in a regular meeting. It is our fear that the Governor will again seek to impose his will for DESE.

Missouri PTA is deeply concerned with the politicization that is currently occurring with regard to the State Board.  Our children, all our children, do best when non-political independent individuals focus on what is best for kids instead of their own political aspirations. Our state operates best when it is under local control both at the state, county, city and community level. Outside forces and big money does not have MO children’s best interest at heart. Local control is best for education and our students. Please join us in advocating for local control!

If you are concerned as advocates of education for all children please contact the following:

Senate Committee on Gubernatorial Appointments

MO State Board of Education, sbe@dese.mo.gov , request email be sent to all members

and your State Senator

Let them know your thoughts on this matter. Below is a letter you can copy and edit with your information to easily contact all those mentioned above.

 

Thank you,

Carla Wiese

VP and Director of Legislation and Advocacy

There have been several articles posted lately regarding this development:

 

Dear (insert title),

 

I do not believe that the current actions Governor Greitens has taken with DESE is in the best interest of the children of Missouri. The Governor is trying to bring in a Commissioner with no ties to MO other than appeasing forces and political donors outside of MO. He has made five appointments that have yet to be confirmed by the Senate. I believe that these members need to be properly vetted and voted upon prior to making any decisions that could be detrimental to all the gains in education MO has experienced.

 

Our children, all our children, do best when non-political independent individuals focus on what is best for kids instead of their own political aspirations. Our state operates best when it is under local control both at the state, county, city and community level. Outside forces and big money does not have MO children’s best interest at heart. Please do not allow the politicization of DESE.

 

Thank you,

(your name)

(PTA Unit)


JC/DC ACTION ALERT: Missouri State Board Call to Action

Missouri’s State Board of Education is framed by the Missouri Constitution to be both bipartisan and independent of state politics.  This purposeful intent makes Missouri unique and our Department of Education has been afforded stability and flourished under this design.  Board members are appointed by the Governor and then approved by the Senate.

 

Over the last few months Governor Greitens has made five interim appointments.  Currently the Senate is out of session and therefor has yet to review and approve or disapprove the appointments.  It has been widely reported the Governor wishes to have the current Commissioner removed in order to bring in an out-of-state individual.

 

Three newly appointed interim members to the State Board of Education (Claudia Greim, Dough Russell, & Eddie Justice) are calling for a special meeting to discuss the firing of the current Commissioner of Education, Dr. Margie Vandeven.  This comes after developments this past September when Melissa Gelner’s appointment was revoked after she refused to agree with a request from the Governor’s to fire the Commissioner.

 

Missouri PTA is deeply concerned with the politicization that is currently occurring with regard to the State Board.  Our children, all our children, do best when non-political independent individuals focus on what is best for kids instead of their own political aspirations.

 

If you are concerned as advocates of education for all children let both the State Board of Education and your State Senator know your thoughts on this matter.

 

Emails can be send to the State Board of Educations at sbe@dese.mo.gov, request your email be distributed to all board members.

 

State Board of Education members:

Charlie Shields – President

Vic Lenz – Vice President

Michael Jones

*Claudia Greim

*Eddy Justice

*Dough Russell

*Tim Sumners

*Marvin “Sonny” Jungmeyer

 

*Newly appointed State Board members

 

The have been several articles posted lately regarding this development

• STL Today – Greitens Attempt to Oust Top School Official Appears Back On

• STL Today – In Five Months Gov Greitens Has Turned Over More Than Half the State School Board

• STL Today – Ex-School Board Member Accuses Governor of Strong-Arm Tactics


Tell Your Members of Congress to Invest in Family Engagement!

Dear Public Education Advocate,

Right now, Congress is debating what federal programs to fund next year. Make sure they know you demand funds to increase family engagement in public education.

Send a letter to your members of Congress TODAY urging them to fund Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) at $10 million in fiscal year 2018.

Time is running out, so we have made it easy for you to make your voice heard and increase family engagement funding. All you need to do is click on the “Take Action” button below to send a letter to your members of Congress.

Thank you for your continued support for family engagement in education,

National PTA Government Affairs Team

Tell Your Members of Congress to Invest in Family Engagement!


JC/DC Alert: Tell Congress to Invest in Public Education!!!

Dear Advocates—

Thank you for taking action to #StopCutsToClassrooms! Your voice has helped raise awareness about the cuts to education funding that are hurting our schools and the critical need for Congress to make sure funding for public education is more than 2% of the federal budget.

While the first phase of the #StopCutsToClassrooms campaign has been a great success, our work isn’t done yet.  We’re counting on you to send a letter to your member of Congress demanding federal funding for public education is more than 2% of the budget. Congress hasn’t passed a budget yet, so there is still time to make your voice heard!

To make it easy for you– we have a letter ready to go. All you need to do is make sure to send this letter to your members of Congress and encourage others in your network to do the same.

Thank you for your continued support to #StopCutsToClassrooms,
National PTA Government Affairs Team

Tell Congress to Invest in Public Education and #STOPCutsToClassrooms!