Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

March 9, 2007

Senate Education Committee hears bill to create incentives for teachers in unaccredited school districts

Sen. Jeff Smith (D-St. Louis) has introduced SB443, which establishes the “Teach for Missouri Act.” The program provides loan forgiveness for education majors who graduate from a Missouri institution and go on to teach full-time in unaccredited or provisionally accredited school districts in the state. The proposal, modeled after the federal Teach for America program, was presented before the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, March 6. Under the program, graduates would receive forgiveness of 25 percent of their overall loan debt for each year they spend teaching full-time in one of the approved districts. High-ability students for the program would be selected in the senior year of high school, and initial funding in the proposal would provide dollars for up to 200 teachers to participate.

Carolyn Herrington, dean of MU’s College of Education, was among those who testified in support of the legislation. Herrington said the proposal would provide a meaningful incentive for students to stay in the state after graduation since debt loads often require students to consider more lucrative employment after graduation.

In other action, the Education Committee adopted a substitute version of SB106, sponsored by Sen. Chuck Graham (D-Columbia), which would add a student to the governing boards of the University of Missouri, Truman State University and Missouri State University. The substitute version of the legislation added the University of Central Missouri to the bill and also would exempt the students from voting on personnel matters that come before the board. It would include a sunset of 2011.

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