Reimagining Education

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Nixon Should Hear From Parents, Too

On May 17 the Kansas City Star published a story about the pressure Governor Jay Nixon is getting from all sides regarding the signing or vetoing of HB42, a bill that would provide parents of children in failing schools with high quality public options.

The story reveals that Governor Nixon recently spent 45 minutes with Kansas City Public Schools superintendent Steve Green in an effort to get the superintendent’s take on the bill and, presumably, the implications for failing traditional public schools. It is understandable and even important for the Governor to hear what the superintendents think of the bill, but it is just as important that he do the same for families whose children would greatly benefit from increased access to high quality public school options.

HB42 is not perfect, in fact a number of parents CEAM has worked with over the past two years will be forced to go back to their failed district—this is heartbreaking. At the same time, we understand, and we hope the Governor understands, that if we wait for a “perfect” piece of legislation we will be waiting forever and Missouri’s kids, our kids, cannot wait forever.

In the end, HB42 will benefit tens of thousands of Missouri school children moving forward and that’s why Governor Nixon must sign it.

If we’ve learned anything over the past four years of working with parents at CEAM, it’s that parents and children want choices. That’s was HB42 provides and that’s why CEAM supports it.

Governor Nixon’s staff was involved in the drafting of the legislation. Even so, we understand that he needs to take his time reviewing the bill and talking with advisors before making a decision to sign it or not. That said, we believe that if he is going to spend time with people whose job it is to protect the status quo, he owes it to families trapped in failed schools created by the status quo to hear from them as well.

Dozens of parents who have children trapped in failed schools have reached out to Governor Nixon since the bill was sent to his desk, urging him to sign the bill. These parents report that the Governor’s office rarely asks for their names or addresses and basically allows no time for parents calling to explain what this bill could do for their children and why they want it signed into law.

We call on the Governor to give parents whose children desperately need high quality public options the same time and respect he gave Dr. Green and other superintendents.

From where we stand, Governor Nixon has a choice to make: maintain the status quo or help children get a better education. We hope he will side with Missouri children.

CEAM parents are asking the Governor to sign HB42 in this short video.

Read a letter to the editor from CEAM board members David Schmid and Brian Murphy.

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