The doors to a better education may have opened wide for all Missouri students this week. Despite a distracted legislative session—and with just three days left—the Missouri legislature voted to give every student access to tuition-free online courses and a virtual schooling program. For years researchers at the Show-Me Institute have been pressing the legislature to give every student in the state free access to online classes through the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program, or MoVIP.
Do you remember January of 2016? Adele’s Hello was displaced by Justin Bieber’s Sorry at the top of the Billboard charts, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and The Martian won the Golden Globe for best picture.
On April 18, Show-Me Institute Director of Education Policy Susan Pendergrass delivers testimony before the Missouri House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education regarding Senate Bill 603 and a course access program for Missouri.
On March 6, 2018, Susan Pendergrass testified before the Senate Education Committee regarding House Committee Substitute for House Bill 1408.
Missouri students are falling behind because not all schools can offer critical courses necessary for college and career readiness. But there is a solution. It’s called Course Access, and it allows students to take advanced courses such as physics and calculus. Isn’t it time Missouri invests in our students’ future?
What’s so important about STEM education? For one thing, it’s a pathway to a high-paying job. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs are growing twice as fast as non-STEM jobs. STEM workers are solving many of our most complex problems; as a result, they earn higher incomes and have a major impact on our economic growth.
THE PROBLEM: All across Missouri, students lack access to higher-level coursework such as AP courses, calculus, and physics.
THE SOLUTION: Course access.
Course access programs allow students to direct a portion of their annual per-pupil funds to take—and receive college credit for—courses outside of their traditional public school course offerings.
WHO ELSE DOES IT? Eleven states across the country have some form of course access program.
Mike Brown, Executive Director of the Missouri Online Summer Institute, discusses the opportunities this program offers for students interested in using online resources to supplement the education they’re getting in school. Courses offered range from remedial classes for students struggling with their regular coursework to advanced-placement courses that would otherwise be unavailable to students in many districts. Click on th link above to watch.