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Senate-passed bill offers more education choices

Parents of virtually-educated students say more work still needed to ensure parents decide what is best for their kids

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri State Senate last Wednesday (April 6) passed House Bill 1552 related to charter schools and parental choice in education.  Many have applauded passage of the measure as a step forward in bringing greater options to parents and students throughout Missouri, particularly for charter schools.  Others, however, believe there is more to be done.

Among the provisions of the legislation was an acknowledgement that, for some families, a virtual education option through local public schools represents the best choice in providing quality education.  Thousands of Missouri parents and students have chosen virtual learning through the Missouri Course Access and Virtual School Program (MOCAP), since 2019.  Many MOCAP parents remain hopeful their chief concern with the program, which was not addressed in the final version of HB 1552, can still be achieved in the final weeks of the legislative session.

“The action taken last week by the Missouri Senate has left one very large and very real problem for parents like me,” said Samoy Mainda, a parent of a virtually-educated student in Missouri.  “We need to make it clear in state law that it is the parent, and not the local school district nor he state board of education, who gets to make the final decision as to what method of education works best for their children.  This problem desperately needs to be addressed now, while the legislature is focused on providing the very best education options for Missouri citizens.”

The just-passed legislation seems to grant the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) the ability to overturn parental choice in opting for a virtual public school option. Parents want the legislation to affirmatively grant to parents the right to choose what is best for their children.

“Expanding educational is good and much of this bill achieves that objective,” Mainda said. “After discussing the challenges parents like me face with a number of legislators, I am confident they understand our dilemma.   Now is the time to fix this problem once and for all.” 

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