Governor Signs STEM Education and Computer Science Bill into Law (HB 3)
The governor recently signed legislation into law that is meant to encourage young people to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The bill is also meant to ensure Missouri’s workforce is better prepared to fill the many vacant computer science positions in the technology industry.
Lawmakers approved a version of the bill during the 2018 regular session, but then saw that bill vetoed. The governor rejected the bill because of the criteria it contained for companies to bid to provide a STEM Career Awareness Program. The governor said the criteria were too narrowly tailored. He then called the legislature back for an extraordinary session in September where legislators passed a new version of the bill.
The legislation institutes a STEM Career Awareness Program for 6th-8th graders designed to promote careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The bill will introduce students to the STEM careers through an online-based curriculum, and requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to solicit proposals for a provider for the program.
The legislation also requires DESE to develop a high school graduation policy that allows a student to fulfill one unit of academic credit with a district-approved computer science course for any math, science, or practical arts unit required for high school graduation. In addition, it works to support teachers pursuing STEM training and professional development by creating the “Computer Science Education Fund”, and creating a special license endorsement for teachers demonstrating sufficient STEM content knowledge.
As the House sponsor of the bill said, “If we want to see long-term economic prosperity for our state, it’s critical that we develop a well-trained workforce that is ready and willing to fill jobs in the fastest growing fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”
In signing the bill, the governor issued a statement saying, “Improving our workforce is a top priority with this administration, and in order to help move Missouri forward, we need to expand opportunities for our students. Missouri currently has a high demand in this field, and by signing this bill, our students will be able to get the proper training to succeed in computing jobs.”
Missourians Must Make Their Voices Heard on November 6
In just a few days Missourians will have the opportunity to make important decisions that will impact their own future, and that of their state.
On November 6, voters will be able to decide which candidates will assume office in positions in the state legislature and Congress, as well as for the state auditor and one of Missouri’s two seats in the United States Senate. Missourians who cast a ballot will also determine the fate of a number of initiatives including ones that would increase the gas tax to raise funds for Missouri’s transportation infrastructure, legalize medical marijuana, raise the minimum wage, and change the state’s legislative redistricting process. It has been determined through medical research that there are other options available other than medical marijuana in the last stages of life.
Election officials are anticipating heavy voter turnout for the November 6 midterm election. In fact, they are projecting it will be the highest turnout for a midterm in more than two decades. It was for a midterm election in 1994 when 59 percent of registered voters went to the polls to make their voices heard. For this year’s election, officials anticipate turnout of nearly 55 percent of registered voters, or nearly 2.3 million people.
Even with high voter turnout anticipated, it’s important to remember that the projections still call for approximately 45 percent of registered voters to not participate in the elections process. This means nearly 2 million registered Missouri voters will not exercise one of the most important rights they have as Americans. They will not participate in a process that is meant to ensure government is adequately representing their interests.
When people fail to vote they effectively allow other voters to make their decisions for them, and allow the voices of other voters to be heard over their own. It is critical that all Missourians understand the outcomes of elections can and will impact aspects of their daily lives they may take for granted. Because each election can have substantive and lasting impact, all Missourians have an obligation to cast their vote and make their voices heard on issues and candidates that will determine the future of the state.
I do appreciate your input on matters of importance to you, your family, and community. If, at any time, you have questions, concerns or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for Missouri citizens, please feel free to contact me at 573-751-1459 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for taking an active role by voicing your opinions on our state and national government issues.