Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed a wide-ranging education bill that includes an expansion of the A+ scholarship program.
Senate Bill 638 will allow private schools in Missouri to take part in the program if they meet the same requirements as public high schools. Students from A+ schools are eligible to attend community college in Missouri for two years, free of charge.
It will also create a pilot program to rate the quality of preschools in Missouri.
"This legislation is long overdue, and I'm pleased we're taking action to provide the tools parents need to find the right preschool for them and their children," Nixon said in a brief written statement. "This bill also helps even more hard-working Missouri students attend community college without paying a nickel for tuition through the A+ Program."
The new law also mandates that the Pledge of Allegiance be recited in at least one scheduled class of every student enrolled in a public school "no less often than once per school day." Current law only requires that the pledge be recited once a week for each student.
Other provisions include:
- Creating a legislative task force on dyslexia and creating guidelines for screening students for dyslexia and related disorders
- Requiring high school students to pass an American civics exam before graduating ... the exam will contain 100 questions similar to the ones required by legal immigrants seeking to become U.S. citizens
- Implementing a system to identify students unprepared for college-level course work or entry-level jobs by the 9th grade
- Allowing the county executive to fill school board vacancies in certain counties
- Implementing new requirements and guidelines for charter schools
- Requiring high school students to undergo 30 minutes of CPR training before graduating (a similar requirement in a separate bill was signed into law by Nixon earlier this month)
The new law takes effect Aug. 28.
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