Arlington, VA (May 10, 2021) – The National Coalition for Public School Options (PSO) today announced a multi-channel campaign to raise awareness of abuses against Missouri families by some school districts, and to encourage lawmakers to take legislative action to fix issues in the existing Missouri Course Access and Virtual School Program (MOCAP) law that allow such abuses to happen.
“We launched this campaign because parents are fed up,” said Letrisha Weber, PSO National Board president. “We’ve heard countless stories from families about the mistreatment they endured at the hands of their school districts. They are tired of being treated unfairly, and they want the legislature to fix the MOCAP law and end the system of abuse for once and for all.”
The campaign which includes cable television ads, mobile billboards and a social media push, comes as the 2020-21 school year comes to a close and parents begin to think about enrollment for next year.
“With the end of the legislative session just days away, we cannot allow lawmakers to leave Jefferson City without helping families,” said Weber. “We hope this campaign helps raise awareness of just how important fixing MOCAP is to families.”
A child’s education is a very individual decision for each family. While full-time online learning may not be right for every student, it works for the thousands of Missouri families that choose this public educational option as its what’s best for their child’s physical health, emotional well-being, or specific learning needs.
When the MOCAP law was passed in 2018, the legislature gave authority to districts to deny applications based on the “best educational interest of the child.” This provision allowed districts to deny hundreds of applications, shifting power away from parents and into the hands of school officials.
Last summer, some school officials ignored and took advantage of the law to deny hundreds of applications for full-time virtual public schools. The experiences of these families suggest that these were not one-off rejections and denials, but a pattern of weaponized bureaucracy. Dozens of families were forced to retain legal counsel to overturn these wrongful denials. The only way to stop this flagrant abuse of power is by fixing the existing MOCAP law.
The National Coalition for Public School Options (PSO) is a national alliance of parents that supports and defends parents’ rights to access the best public school options for their children. The coalition supports the creation of public school options, including charter schools, online schools, magnet schools, open enrollment policies, and other innovative education programs. Additionally, we advocate for free and equal access without restrictions to these public schools for all children.