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