April 2023 - Education Annual Report
The Education Committee engages in an ongoing effort monitoring the Legislature in order to decide whether to support or oppose legislation as determined by League policy. Resolutions opposing bills which expand charter schools, tuition tax credits, and open enrollment have been approved and sent to the Metro League Board for consideration. Resolutions supporting a more equitable method of funding public schools, fully funding the Foundation Formula and fully funding the Transportation Categorical have also been approved and forwarded to the Metro League Board in the past year.
An ongoing education committee project involves studying the potential for developing equitable alternatives to the dependence on property taxes as the primary funding source for public schools Community Partners are being sought to advocate for equitable funding to the State Board of Education.
The committee monitors curriculum controversies over CRT and DEI at several county school districts and recommended the League work to defeat several bills that would interfere with the social studies and literature curriculum The committee also recommended the League work to defeat Parents Bill of Rights legislation.
Charter schools are expanding into St. Louis County. The first one opened in Pagedale for the 2022-23 school year. The committee has encouraged members to join the League’s Observer Corps to monitor the new charter school, charters in the city of St. Louis and county public school districts as well as the SLPS.
The committee also drew attention to state efforts to ban books in public and school libraries and motivated League leadership to respond.
LWVMO President Marilyn McLeod testified in Jefferson City against legislation to restrict curriculum on March 29. She said, "Local control in public education in Missouri has served us well for many years and League is supportive of that continuation.
"Teachers in the classrooms and curriculum specialists who have classroom experience are in the best position to develop curriculum which is appropriate to the learning environment of their students, consistent with community standards, and challenging enough to interest the students and prepare them for citizenship in an increasingly diverse world.
"Students should not be constrained in learning about the true history of our country. The more that we know, the better we can be as a nation. Our diversity is what has made this nation strong."
The LWVSTL Education Committee encouraged our LWVMO President Marilyn McLeod to send a letter to DESE in support of Missouri school funding that makes education more equitable for those children living in low-income communities. Here is the letter that was sent to DESE.
The LWVSTL Board voted in favor of adding an existing education position to the current LWVSTL program (priority list).
SUPPORT equal opportunity in education with continued efforts to achieve racial and socio-economic balance and equality within city/county schools.
“Schools with policies that are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in teaching and practice are working to achieve racial and socio-economic balance and equality. DEI are fundamental values that are needed for the future success of engaging all individuals, communities, and policy makers in creating a more perfect democracy.”
The St. Louis League September 2021 unit meetings learned about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion teaching and its misnomer, Critical Race Theory.
Learn more: DEI Teaching Info Sheet
A new chair was appointed for the Education Committee in January of 2020, Susan Turk. The committee has welcomed several new members in recent months whose interests have expanded the scope of committee activities.
The Committee engages in an ongoing effort monitoring the Legislature in order to decide whether to support or oppose legislation. Resolutions opposing bills which expand charter schools, school vouchers, tuition tax credits, and open enrollment have been approved and sent to the Metro League Board for consideration. Resolutions supporting a more equitable method of funding public schools, fully funding the Foundation Formula and fully funding the Transportation Categorical have also been approved and forwarded to the Metro League Board in recent months.
An ongoing education committee project involves studying the potential for developing equitable alternatives to the dependence on property taxes as the primary funding source for public schools. The committee is planning to submit a new policy proposal regarding the equitable funding of public schools to the Metro League for possible approval by the state and national Leagues. A new project addresses the civics education curriculum currently under revision by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Biased language in the draft curriculum has raised concern that Missouri students will be presented with a slanted view of the outcomes of governmental interventions in society. The committee is undertaking efforts to ensure biased wording is removed. The committee is also working on spreading information about HJR 47 which if approved by the legislature would put an initiative on the ballot to change the state board of education from being appointed by the governor to being elected with one member coming from each of our eight congressional districts and one member elected state wide. If this makes it onto the ballot and the voters pass it, the state board of education would be politicized. Under current law, no more than 4 members of the board of education can belong to one political party. If the board is elected, there would be no such limitation. HJR 47 also stipulates that board elections be held in presidential election years. Under the current law many of the state board members appointed by our governors have been former educators. If HJR 47 is approved and the ballot initiative passes, that is not likely to continue. The committee is submitting a recommendation to the Metro League Board to oppose HJR 47.
Contact Name: Susan Turk
Email: Education [at] lwvstl.org