Rick Francis

Representative Rick Francis, 145th District Representative

Submitted photo by Tim Bommel

Lawmakers approved a bill this week that would provide young people with greater access to highly-skilled, experienced instructors in areas such as health care, manufacturing, and engineering. The legislation allows the State Board of Education to issue a visiting scholar certificate as a license to teach in public schools.

I believe that students benefit from real-world, hands-on learning and point to the success of several innovative school-community-business partnerships that provide opportunities for students to be immersed in real-world working environments and test drive careers. There is a need for qualified teachers with industry experience to assist in providing high quality learning experiences.

The visiting scholar certificate would allow a professional to be employed in a content area in which the individual has an academic degree or professional experience. The visiting scholar would only teach classes for ninth grade or higher and the hiring school district must verify that the individual will be employed as part of a business-education partnership initiative designed to build career pathways for students. The certificate would last for one year and the applicant could renew it a maximum of two times if certain requirements are met. This program would also give accomplished professionals an opportunity to give back to their communities by sharing their knowledge and expertise with the next generation.

Other Bills Moving to the Senate

HB 1408 would change the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program (MOVIP) to "The Missouri Course Access Program" (MCAP). Supporters say the bill would give students the opportunity to take courses that their school does not offer, especially in the case of small schools unable to hire teachers for advanced or specialized subject areas.

HB 1744 was perfected this week in the House and will come up for a vote on the House Floor the first week of February. This bill modifies the Missouri A+ School program student attendance requirements that will take into account medical emergencies, students studying abroad, etc. This is a good bill and I will be supporting it. An amendment to this bill was defeated, which would have allowed illegal immigrants to receive A+ Scholarships. What farmer hires a helper who states he will farm the neighbor’s fields before farming the ground he was hired to care for. This to me is crazy. Nonetheless, we have those in our capitol who would rather see to the interests of illegal aliens before doing what is best for our Missouri students.

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