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New Missouri House speaker prioritizes education, adoption

Newly elected Missouri House Speaker Rob Vescovo, a Republican from Arnold, made education a top priority in his address to members on Wednesday.

“As a student who struggled, I believe I do have valuable insight on what works and what doesn’t,’ he said, according to Missourinet. ”I believe it is time our system of education listens to these students, including me, who have seen firsthand how the system can and should improve.”

missouri education

Rob Vescovo

Vescovo wants to provide parents the option of sending their children to schools that will best serve their needs. He said the COVID-19 pandemic has taught parents across Missouri an important lesson about educaton.

“Every parent wants to keep their kids safe and healthy, but we have also learned that teachers are more effective as educators in person and that kids must be in school to learn effectively,” he said.

He also is challenging the Legislature to make a stronger commitment to early childhood education. Vescovo said the General Assembly must support policies that focus on empowerment rather than imprisonment.

“If we want to better serve the people of our state, we must invest in our young people on the front end rather than pay the cost of incarceration on the back end when our system fails them,” he said.

READ: Missouri Education leaders tackle teacher shortage

Vescovo, who was adopted, also is calling on the Legislature to expand Missouri’s adoption tax credit so families that want to adopt a child aren’t blocked from doing it simply because of cost.

Vescovo takes over for Springfield Republican Elijah Haahr, who term-limited out of the House after eight years. Republicans control the Missouri House this session 114-47, and they control the Senate 24-10. The GOP has supermajorities in both chambers, and Gov. Mike Parson is a Republican.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice