Fall 2020 Educational Resources for Missouri Parents
Read the latest from Susan Pendergrass
Parents are angry and confused right now. Many are receiving mixed messages from school districts. Critical information arrives late in the process and changes frequently. It’s up to school districts and the Missouri Department of Secondary and Elementary Education to fix this. But that doesn’t seem likely to happen before school starts this fall—and parents need help right now. So we’ve created a resource page designed to help parents figure out what their options are and what sort of questions they ought to be asking. Of course, this is only a small subset of what is out there, but we hope you find the below information useful. Please feel free to share this with anyone you think might benefit.
Questions parents should be asking superintendents, school board members and legislators:
- Can I have a portion of my child’s state funding to purchase in-person learning if my district isn’t offering it?
- Will the district make teachers available for micro-schools for those who want and need them?
- Could the district open some school buildings for students to do their virtual learning with an on-site teacher assisting?
- What if I don’t have high-speed internet access? Hot spots were insufficient last spring.
- I don’t like my school’s virtual education programming. Can I switch to MOCAP after the school year starts?
- Why hasn’t the state waived the requirement for receiving district permission to enroll in MOCAP this year?
- My child can’t attend school in person. Can I have state funds to enroll them in a high-quality virtual provider of my choice?
- If I decide to have my child stay virtual, do I need to register as a homeschooler?
Options that may or may not be available for this school year:
Missouri Course Access Program (MOCAP) – MOCAP has 11 providers of full-time virtual education that have been vetted and approved by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). A law passed in 2018 gives all Missouri students the right to request enrollment in any of the providers. Currently, districts are required to assess the request and determine if virtual education is a good fit for the student or not. Parents can appeal a denial of permission. Districts have an unlimited amount of time to respond to MOCAP enrollment requests.
UPDATE September 22, 2020 – 10 Day Deadline for MOCAP Review
Letter: Missouri online program virtual lifesaver for students
Missouri committee may propose changes to virtual education program
Missouri panel to request temporary removal of districts serving as MOCAP gatekeeper
Free virtual resources:
Virtual resources that cost money:
Micro-schools – A group of 10-15 multi-age students with one teacher. There are several national networks, but parents would have to work fast to create a micro-school at this point. Any that aren’t charter schools charge tuition.
What Is a Micro School? And Where Can You Find One? (edweek)
More on the Micro-school Movement (Forbes)
What are “micro-schools” and “pandemic pods”? (Today)
Why and How to Open a Microschool (gettingsmarter)
PODs – Groups of families that agree to have their children learn in-person together while limiting their access to anyone outside the group. These are being formed in Missouri, but with no public assistance.
Parents turn to “pods” as a schooling solution
YMCA of Metropolitan Columbus offering learning pods
College Station Taekwondo business offering learning pods
At least one parent has started a POD business
Watch: How to Start an Education Pod
“Little Pod Platoons” Are Education’s Answer to Lockdowns This Fall
“Pandemic Pods” Are Fundamentally Reshaping K-12 Education
Microschools on the rise in Arizona, with COVID providing added boost (AZ Mirror)
Parents Turn to “Pods” for School During Pandemic (WebMD)
Scholarships – Giving state money directly to parents to pay for tuition or tutoring. These are not available in Missouri, but could be. Each governor received flexible stimulus money under the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEERs) program. Governor Parson has received $54 million. So far, Governor Parson has allocated $24 million to higher education. The allocation of the remaining $30 million is unknown. Other governors have used portions of their GEERs funds to create scholarships for low-income students.
Oklahoma used GEER funding to create a scholarship that will help low-income families purchase curriculum content, tutoring services, and technology
South Carolina used GEER funding to create SAFE Scholarships
Governors Direct Federal COVID-19 Aid to Private School Scholarships (EDweek)