Tag Archives: Missouri budget

Is this Missouri’s fate?

Hawaii was once a leader in early childhood education. Today it ranks among the 12 worst (along with Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Montant, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming) when it comes to early childhood education, says NIEER, the National Institute for Early Education Research. Why? It has no state-funded programs.

In an interview on KITV, ABC TV’s local affiliate in Honolulu, Dr. Jack Shonkoff, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, notes that most brain development happens in the early years; a lack of a pre-kindergarten education puts children behind.

Like Dr. James Heckman who addressed Missouri business leaders at a summit around early childhood education last November, he agrees that later efforts in a child’s life can overcome early disadvantage but it costs society far more and “puts a lot of pressure on everything that follows to make up for things that could have been done right the first time…” 

Missouri has just slashed its budget for the state’s 524 Parents as Teachers programs by more than 60% going into FY2011.

State Preschool YearbookWhere does your state fall on the State of Preschool scale?


Let’s put Missouri in perspective

Passion runs high when it comes to two things: our kids and our money. And right now parents in Missouri are full throttle on both accounts thanks to a media blitz about the state’s budget for Parents as Teachers, the parent education program offered to residents through every school district.

The fact is, Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) budget for Parents as Teachers this fiscal year has been reduced twice by Governor Nixon, but it is still $24 million! In fact, DESE reports that even after the Governor’s most recent $4.9 million withhold, they still have funds remaining. There are families who need, want and are waiting for these services and Parents as Teachers programs who are continuing to provide them.

Yes, the Governor’s proposed FY 2011 budget of $13 million is a significant reduction, but will still provide for significant work Parents as Teachers programs are already doing with the more than 66,000 high needs Missouri families.

Will these families find Parents as Teachers support next year? Of course they will! Even while they’re working to conserve budgets this year by discontinuing personal visits and support groups a few weeks earlier than usual, many programs have already notified families of their intended start-up dates in August.

It’s important to know that Missouri is but one of 50 states where Parents as Teachers thrives and where new Parents as Teachers programs are continually coming into being. In fact, over the past three years the number of new Parents as Teachers programs nationwide has steadily increased.

Why can’t Missouri get it right?

Congratulations, Missouri. If Senator Rob Mayer’s (R-25-SE MO) proposed $14 million funding cut to Parents as Teachers in Missouri is approved, it may jeopardize Missouri’s eligibility for millions of dollars in federal funding.

Earlier this month a new federally funded home visiting grant program was enacted into law that provides $1.5 billion over five years for states. Like many federal grant programs provided to states, this new law includes a maintenance of effort clause that requires states to use these new funds to supplement, not replace, existing state funding for home visiting. This means states must maintain level funding over a period of fiscal years to be eligible for the new federal funds.

The Senate Appropriations Committee recommendation to cut Parents as Teachers funding by 59% jeopardizes Missouri’s ability to receive these unprecendented federal home visiting funds for children and families.

Missouri Parents as Teachers budget cut history

Missouri residents, if you feel like telling Sen. Mayer or your own senators how you feel about the way they’re managing your state’s budget, call the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, listed below.  You can reach their offices by calling the state capitol switch board at 573-751-2151.

Senate Appropriations Committee:
Senator Rob Mayer, Chair (R-25)
Senator Kurt Schaefer, Vice-Chair (R-19)
Senator Tom Dempsey, (R-23)
Senator Jim Lembke, (R-1)
Senator David Pearce, (R-31)
Senator Chuck Purgason, (R-33)
Senator Scott Rupp, (R-2)
Senator Frank Barnitz, (D-16)
Senator Joan Bray (D-24)
Senator Tim Green, (D-13)
Senator Yvonne Wilson, (D-9)

The Committee will continue to consider recommendations through next week, then the full Senate will begin debate on the budget on the Senate floor. 

Call for me!

Tell them Missouri’s 154,000 Parents as Teachers children asked you to call.

Say it ain’t so, MO!

Money must matter more than minds. Unable to look beyond the immediacy of next year’s budget, or perhaps too impatient to wait for young brains to turn into income-producing taxpayers, Missouri is telling parents,  “Figure it out for yourself!” as it looks at Parents as Teachers budget cuts.

Doesn’t everyone know how to parent?
Several years ago this thought-provoking line caught my eye in one of Fast Company’s blog posts: “Have you ever found yourself taking for granted that everyone else knew exactly what you knew and didn’t begin to think that might not be the case?”

So it is with Parents as Teachers. But in the rush to balance budgets and pare costs, many Missouri legislators are slashing their own futures.