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Mo. State Lawmakers Doubtful About School Reform

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Photo: KMOX

Photo: KMOX

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NORMANDY, Mo. (KMOX) - As Normandy transfer students were attending their first day of classes in the Francis Howell School District on Thursday, local lawmakers were talking about changing the law that put them there.

Kirkwood Republican Rep. Rick Stream says he will introduce a bill in January allowing accredited districts to limit the number of transfers they must take but he expects strong opposition from rural lawmakers.

“The legislature is really divided on education along the lines of city versus country and in the rural areas, they don’t want to see any change to education reform,” he said. “It has everything to do with the outstate districts feeling that these changes we might want to make in these unaccredited districts or provisionally accredited districts will come to their districts.”

South County Democratic Rep. Bob Burns is also pessimistic, arguing that the Missouri Legislature isn’t focused on the important issues, such as education.

“They’re still talking about drones and teachers carrying firearms in the classroom and telling the United States Congress to audit the Fed,” he said.

“It’s like my old coach used to say, ‘I can’t hear your words because your actions speak so loudly,’” Burns added. “If we’re truly interested in public education, let’s put our money where our mouth is. Let’s do some constructive solutions to the point.”

Burns and Stream were guests on KMOX’s Charlie Brennan Show Thursday.

The Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri has been at the middle of the school transfer saga, even threatening a lawsuit against the Mehlville School District for its limits on the number of transfers. Burns is critical of the group, funded by billionaire political donor Rex Sinquefield, and says it is part of a larger effort.

“There are factions in this country that want to eliminate public education,” he said.

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