Friday, March 22, 2013

StudentsFirst Polls Education Issues

According to an American Viewpoint polling memo, the school reform agenda of StudentsFirst enjoys strong support from a wide cross-section of Missourians.


The poll was conducted February 24-26, with a sample size of 600 respondents for a margin of error of +/- 4.0%.




Currently state law does not require annual performance evaluations for school principals. Some have proposed creating yearly principal evaluations, based on multiple objective measures, including a significant portion based on the growth of their students as well as their success retaining, attracting and managing teachers. Do you favor or oppose this change?

79% favor

16% oppose



Currently Missouri’s public school teachers automatically receive tenure after 5 years, without consideration of documented performance reviews. Some have recommended changing the tenure system, where tenure would be earned through demonstrated performance, and this performance would need to be maintained throughout their career to keep tenure.  Do you favor or oppose this change?

74% favor

22% oppose



Currently state law does not require annual performance evaluations for teachers. Some have proposed creating yearly teacher evaluations, based on multiple objective measures, including observations, student or parent feedback and with half of the evaluation based on the progress in learning by their students that teacher generated over the course of the year, measured by state assessments. Do you favor or oppose this change?

73% favor

23% oppose



Currently when Missouri public schools have to lay off teachers for budget reasons the layoffs are determined by the seniority of the teachers, with the most recently hired teachers being the first to be laid off. Some have proposed school districts basing layoff decisions on teacher performance rather than teacher seniority. Do you favor or oppose this change?

72% favor

23% oppose



Some have proposed giving parents of children in low-achieving schools the option to petition for specific changes that their school district would be required to make. In order to require the school district to make these changes, at least half of the parents of that school would need to sign the petition. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?

71% favor

22% oppose



The State Department of Education will be implementing changes of how school districts are rated. Some are proposing a requirement that would give each school a letter rating of A, B, C, D or F. Do you favor or oppose creating this rating system for Missouri’s public schools?

70% favor

24% oppose



When a district fails, the state department of education can intervene and make changes to the district's school board. Some have proposed changing this intervention process to include performance metrics to measure progress throughout the intervention process and to designate a leader who has greater authority to make changes to the failing district. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?

66% favor

28% oppose



Here are some additional insights from the memo:

Support from African American voters was solid… “61% of African Americans say that Missouri schools need major changes, compared with 36% of white voters.


And, “this call for reform isn’t aimed specifically at teachers as a whole, as 77% of voters have a favorable impression and only 11% have an unfavorable impression, but at the system as a whole.”



Barnes Unveils Committee Sub for Medicaid Transformation

Rep. Jay Barnes posted his House Committee Substitute for the Medicaid transformation bill.  He will hold a hearing on it Monday.  See it here.


Here are the major changes:

Mandatory Drug and Alcohol Treatment – The HCS requires enrollment in substance abuse treatment programs as a condition for probation for any alcohol or drug-related offense (including offenses for which drugs are alcohol are not a direct element but the judge finds that they played a role in the defendant’s conduct) and for re-unification plans in foster care cases.


Statewide Plans – The HCS requires managed care plans that compete on a statewide basis to (1) ensure adequate coverage in more rural areas of the state, and (2) bring down costs by increasing the pool of participants in the bidding.


RFP Modeled After Kansas – The HCS codifies particular requirements of the RFP process for market-based Medicaid. The process required in the HCS is modeled after the process used in Kansas with KanCare under Gov. Sam Brownback.


CHIPs for Children Ineligible for Employer Coverage and Whose Parents Do Not Have Subsidized Plans – The HCS modifies the previous elimination of CHIPs to keep it as an option for children whose parents neither have access to affordable coverage for their children through work nor are eligible for a subsidized plan.


Unborn Children Covered Under CHIPs – The HCS makes unborn children eligible for CHIPs.


Pregnant Women and Infants Eligible Except During Exchange Sign-up– The HCS keeps eligibility for pregnant women and infants at 185, except that women who learn of their pregnancy during the open enrollment period for subsidized exchange plans are instead directed to the exchange where the state will pay the premiums. Coverage for infants follows according to the source of the mother’s coverage.


Incentives to Triage to Urgent Care Clinics – The HCS incentivizes the construction and operation of urgent care clinics that operate outside normal working hours in or adjacent to emergency rooms.


School-Based Clinics – The HCS incentives the construction and operation of clinics in school with high percentages of low-income children.


Task Force – The HCS creates a task force to study and issue annual reports on how to improve results and save taxpayer money in MoHealthNet. While other legislatively-created Task Forces are usually of short duration, this Task Force is set to last until 2024.


Deletes the ‘Pre-paid Co-Pay Account’ – The HCS eliminates the idea of a ‘pre-paid co-pay account.’ This provision may return later as a pilot project.



Kevin Keith Exits MODOT

MODOT Director Kevin Keith left the organization for a medical leave of absence.  Post-Dispatch has the story here.   Dave Nichols, the chief engineer, assumed the role of interim director.


Pull Quote:  “It is very important that our friends in the Legislature know we have someone at the helm who has all of the same information and all of the leadership qualities as Kevin,” (Highway Commission Chair) Joe Carmichael said.



Crowell: SB207 Worse Than Taxes

Former state senator Jason Crowell pens an op-ed entitled “What You Should Know About SB 207 & HB 398.”


Here’s a taste: As a former legislator who fought to ensure Missourians kept their hard earned money, I believe SB 207 and HB 398 are horrible public policy… The only thing worse than more taxes on Missourians is to institute stealth taxes that take away the economic freedom and opportunity of Missouri families and businesses… The proposed new “infrastructure” surcharge is little more than a vehicle for monopoly utility companies like Ameren, Empire Electric & KCP&L, which already operate on the very fringe of our capitalist free market economic system, to take more hard earned money out of Missourians' pockets.  Even worse, this is for the same exact energy we receive today, they just want you and me to pay more for it…”




MBEF released a new ISRS commercial.  See it here.




St. Louis alderwoman Dionne Flowers received a wrist-slap from the Missouri Ethics Commission for failure to file accurate and timely reports.  See it here.



St. Louis Business Journal does a front-page profile on Tishaura Jones, St. Louis City Treasurer.  See it here (paywall).




The iPhone exodus begins today!  The new Blackberries finally hit US stores this morning.



Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:


Michael G Winter added Mallinckrodt LLC.

McClain Bryant deleted HNTB.



$5K+ Contributions

Silvey for Missouri - $25,000 from The Cranford Coalition.

Continue to Care - $10,000 from Northland Health Care Access.

Continue to Care - $12,500 from The Health Alliance of MidAmerica.

Continue to Care - $10,000 from Saint Luke’s Health System.

KCS Rail- PAC – $20,000 from Kansas City Southern.




Happy birthdays to Sens. Paul LeVota (45) and Will Kraus (40), lobbyist Nancy Giddens, former Sen. Yvonne Wilson (84), and Steve Hunter (64).
Saturday: Tom Loehner (56), and Rhonda Broussard.


Sunday: Tony Wyche, and Matt Bain.