Reimagining Education

Parents, legislators talk about educational opportunities at Kansas City Ice Cream Social

Parents and legislators from throughout the Kansas City region got together last weekend to cool off with some ice cream and talk about K-12 education options in Missouri.

CEAM outreach staff Cici Tompkins and Samoy Mainda led the discussion, describing some of the options currently available for families before talking about the need to grow those programs and create more universal school choice programs for the state.

Parents heard about how they could apply for private school scholarships through the new MOScholars program and learned how they could redirect up to 50 percent of their state tax liability to fund scholarships for students in need.

They also learned about Missouri’s virtual education program, MOCAP, and how they could use it to help their children learn from home from qualified providers.

Rep. Dan Stacy told the group about his own personal experiences with school choice, explaining that his wife had worked in public schools for years, but was determined to keep their children out of the same schools she worked in.

“She did not want our kids going to a government school,” he said, adding that they ended up homeschooling their children. “When you choose to homeschool that is a high cost to the family from a working standpoint, but there is almost no other decision that I have made in my life that I am happier about.”

Rep. Stacy said that parents were in the best position to choose the type of learning environment where their children will best succeed.

“I want to empower parents to make the best choice they can with the money they are already paying in taxes,” he said. “The money that goes to the state for education should follow the student.”

Rep. Josh Hulbert agreed, explaining that was why he worked with one of the scholarship-granting organizations, the Herzog Foundation, when he was not fighting to expand educational opportunities in Jefferson City.

“Right now, it is only the parents that are well off that have a chance to send their kids to private school,” he said, adding that the new MOScholars program helped to fix that issue by offering scholarships worth over $6,000 each to low-income students and students with special needs.

Parent Jesse Barton said that he had worked in public schools for sixteen years but, like Rep. Stacey, had worked hard to keep his children out of the same schools he taught in.

“My kids have never set foot in a public school as students,” he said, adding that they currently enjoyed a mix of school choice options, including virtual education through MOCAP and attending a private school through the MOScholars program.

Rep. Aaron McMullen also attended the ice cream social.

Parents will have another chance to talk about educational opportunities with state leaders on July 20, when CEAM hosts the KC School Choice Supporters Q&A Supper.

The event will feature a roundtable discussion with Rep. Stacy and Representatives Aaron McMullen, Chris Sander, and Bill Allen, and Senator Rick Brattin.

The event will be held from 6-8pm at Kansas City Library:  Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St., Kansas City, MO. Parking si free and dinner will be provided, but participants are asked to RSVP at https://bit.ly/QASupper.

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