Many families continue to evaluate their options as the new school year approaches. Earlier this week, several Missouri parents and the National Center for Public School Options testified before the state Joint Education Committee on attempts being made by local school districts to block thousands of families from accessing the online school of their choice as guaranteed under the MOCAP law.
The MOCAP website states, “MOCAP’s mission is to offer Missouri students equal access to a wide range of high quality courses, flexibility in scheduling, and interactive online learning.”
With the first day of school less than a week away in many districts, families are calling on Gov. Mike Parson, the state Legislature and the state Board of Education to step in and protect parents’ rights during the pandemic. Parents are demanding the following:
- Parson must use his waiver authority immediately to forego the requirement for families to obtain pre-approval from their resident district before enrolling in a MOCAP course or school.
- The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the state Board of Education must immediately audit districts for compliance with the existing law and require swift correction to the numerous violations. While the State Board previously has attempted to remedy one aspect of the illegal activity with a proposed new rule, the rule will not be in effect in time to assist families with enrollment this semester and addresses only one of the many abuses.
- The Legislature must rewrite the MOCAP statute to prevent future abuses of fairness or due process.
“The health, safety and educational future of thousands of Missouri students hang in the balance as the governor and DESE wait to act,” said Colleen Cook, parent board resident of organization. “We hope today’s testimony from parents and the presentation of compelling evidence of the blatant attempts by districts to block parent choice will drive lawmakers to address these issues immediately through an emergency waiver and long-term with a legislative fix.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice