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Doug Richey selected to chair Joint Committee on Education

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Rep. Doug Richey was selected as the new chair of the Joint Committee on Education by its members Wednesday, pledging to look at higher education while continuing other conversations about Missouri schools.

The committee will continue investigating critical race theory (CRT), virtual education, and the Missouri Course Access and Virtual School Program (MOCAP) under Richey’s leadership — topics that have driven much of the committee’s conversations in recent months. 

Richey, who also serves as an adjunct professor, said he would also like to see members discuss ways to bolster the state’s colleges and universities. 

“I think we’ll be looking at the higher education level as well — how we can bolster the reputation of colleges and universities against this landscape of options students have outside of Missouri,” Richey told The Missouri Times. “We want to enhance that reputation, and we’ll be having conversations in the performance-based funding mechanisms space as well.”

Richey has sat on the joint committee for a little more than a year: He was appointed by then-Speaker Elijah Haahr to replace an outgoing member last summer and was selected as its vice-chair shortly thereafter. He served as second in command to Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin, who in turn was selected as his vice-chair for the year. 

The committee has met over the interim to discuss various new issues in education, including concerns over the teaching of CRT in Missouri schools. The committee heard from educators and parents over the issue throughout the summer. Despite the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) finding only one school in Missouri that taught CRT, Richey said the conversation would continue.