The new MOScholars program has the potential to change the lives of thousands of students across the state, providing struggling families with the funding they need to find better educational options for their children.
In the first year of the program, the vast majority of families will use these funds to send their children to private schools, despite the original intent of the law being to provide funding for a wide swath of educational options including homeschooling.
Most of the Education Assistance Organizations (EAOs), the organizations responsible for disbursing MOScholars scholarships, have very limited paths for homeschooling families to qualify for scholarships in the first year of the program.
Even though there are some concerns about requirements that are placed on homeschool students through the rulemaking process, these shouldn’t ultimately be an issue for parents of homeschoolers looking to obtain the scholarship.
Those rules require families receiving MOScholars funding for homeschooling to jump through additional hoops not required by Missouri’s existing homeschool laws.
CEAM did try and have those rules removed during the rulemaking process and were able to achieve some changes to the rules.
The good news is that homeschool families are not required to apply for MOScholars scholarships.
In fact, the state’s leading homeschooling group, Families for Home Education, recently stated in a Facebook post that:
“You do not have to participate in the new program. It is completely voluntary. Homeschoolers not in the program will not have to comply with the regulations and are under a different set of rules.”
Existing homeschool families who do not pursue MOScholars funding are not affected by the new program in any way.
The new, concerning requirements for homeschooling included in the MOScholars rules ONLY apply to families who apply for and receive MOScholars scholarships.
The vast majority of existing homeschool families would not even qualify for a MOScholars scholarship because the program requires public school attendance during the previous year unless the applicant has special needs.
But the MOScholars program does have the potential to help families who have not switched over to homeschooling yet, by providing needed funding for curriculum and other costs.
Thousands of parents and advocates across Missouri are working to improve the program in the coming years and expand a shared vision of educational freedom in Missouri.
The wheels of political progress move slowly and we know well how frustrating this can be. It’s important that we work together and keep our eyes on the prize of educational freedom.
It’s the best path forward if we are to ensure that every Missouri family has the freedom and the funding they need to ensure that they have the ultimate control over their children’s futures.
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