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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • BILL LANT: Looking at Common Core standards

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  • It sure appears as if the secretary of education is completely unmoved by the questions about Common Core. She sent a memo this week urging school districts to hold meetings and update people on the progress toward transitioning to Common Core Standards.
    She goes on to say that most districts are well on their way toward the transition. She then points out that because parents and community members have confidence in teachers and administrators, it's important to illustrate how the new standards will boost learning in the district.
    Now all of this is fine, but I'm more than a little troubled that this is something that has been in the works since 2010 and most legislators and patrons of school districts are just now hearing about it. Maybe I'm getting old and cranky, but I really am beginning to hate surprises. The speaker has an interim committee looking into a lot of education issues during the summer, and I for one am anxious to hear more about Common Core Standards. I'm also am anxious to learn more about plans to help the Kansas City and St. Louis school districts.
    What I'm really not happy with is a state agency taking it upon itself to change something that can affect every school child in the state without even sharing the idea with the general assembly. Remember, we are elected to represent the wishes of the constituents of our districts and as such, we should be a part of a decision as far reaching as this. When you look at some of the other lousy decisions made this year, such as a $6 million airplane purchase when we aren't able to fully fund the education formula, and transmitting our personal information from the Department of Revenue as well as selling it to telemarketers, we just might need a little more time to look at this sweeping change in school curriculums.
    We will have the opportunity in September to attempt to overturn some or all of the governor's vetoes. It will take every one of the Republican Caucus members to overturn a veto so it's not as easy as it sounds. Our tax bill was vetoed as were several second amendment issues. There are still many bills on his desk that he hasn't yet addressed, but it's a sure thing that he isn't through with his veto pen. I think what bothers me most is that some of the bills that he is vetoing are his own creations. We used the exact wording supplied us by the governor's staff in the tax bill. After he was approached by special interests, he changed his position on the bill and now he's found a loophole to make it look like he's saving the state from bad laws!
    There are a record number of interim committees working this summer. We have several crucial issues to address next session and the more we can learn about the issues now, the better equipped we will be to make good decisions. One thing we keep learning more about is the proposed Medicaid expansion. Many of the initial promises concerning cost of services have been rescinded and many of the services promised have been changed.
    Page 2 of 2 - We are now hearing that many things originally included in "affordable health care" are no longer affordable. The committees are looking at ways to reform our current Medicaid services and eliminate some things that were never intended to be in the program. The thought is that there are enough savings to expand many areas of Medicaid without increasing the burden on taxpayers. Remember, they are our dollars even if they come from the Federal Government instead of the State.
    Food For Thought this week: Only in America could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner (the head of the treasury department) and Charles Rangle (who once ran the Ways and Means Committee) BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.
    More next week. Until then I am, and remain, in your service.
    Bill Lant represents the people of Southwest Missouri in the Mo. House of Representatives. Contact him locally at 437-8223 or at his Jefferson City office at (573) 751-9801 or email him at bill.lant@house.mo.gov.

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