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The President of the National Education Association was in Jefferson City today to speak out against two education proposals that state lawmakers are considering. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.
Reg Weaver is a former teacher from Illinois who now heads the National Education Association, a group that lobbies on behalf of public school teachers.
At a press conference in Jefferson City, he called on lawmakers and the public to reject a proposal that would require school districts to adopt as a goal a plan to spend two thirds of their budget on direct classroom instruction. The proposal would be put to a public vote.
Weaver says it's an idea that deserves close scrutiny.
But supporters of the proposal say it's a way to make sure schools are putting most of their money into classrooms, not bureaucracy.
Republican Representative Jane Cunningham of St Louis County is chairman of the House Education committee.
She says the bill doesn't penalize districts that fail to meet the goal of spending two thirds of their budget on classroom expenditures...She says it will empower voters who will know whether or not their district is meeting the goal.
Another proposal that Cunningham supports has drawn criticism from the National Education Association.
The proposal would give tax credits to individuals and businesses for contributions they make to programs that give public school students in failing school districts scholarships they can use for private school tuition.
Cunningham says the idea is to give students a way to escape failing school districts that she says haven't improved despite increased state funding.
Opponents of the scholarship program say it essentially institutes vouchers, something bill supporters adamantly deny.
At the National Education Association's press conference at the capitol, the group's national president Reg Weaver said the bill is an effort to undermine public schools.
About 20 House Democrats joined Weaver at the press conference to show their opposition to these education proposals.