Missouri legislators host education forum in Cape Girardeau to discuss literacy

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – Senators from Missouri hosted an education forum at Southeast Missouri State’s Bedell Performance Hall.

It was a time for sharing ideas and for discussion about what can be done for educators and students in Missouri. 

“The goal was basically to have a group of people come together who work in literacy and don’t work in literacy who want to be a part of the conversation, and to figure out what we need to add to the pie,” Sen. Karla May (D) District 4 said. “It’s like a big puzzle, and we want to try to fix literacy in our state.” 

At the forum, legislators fielded questions about the needs and trends people have noticed within the educational system that they feel need to be addressed. 

Sen. Karla Eslinger (R) District 33 said providing educators with the tools necessary for them to apply their craft is at the forefront of these discussions. 

“There’s not one way to teach a child. We know that. There’s not one way to teach reading. We know that,” she said. “What we’ve got to be able to do is have our teachers be able to have a pretty big toolbox as to what it is that they’re going to be using when it comes to what does that child need from me at this moment.” 

The legislators will gather information from their trip through the state in order to work on legislation that will add to that toolbox. 

Sen. Holly Thompson Rehder (R) District 27, who was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child, was hopeful that some fruit will come of this effort by the end of the year. 

“We’re going to put all of these ideas down and see how we can start changing and helping some of these things, whether it’s regulations with the Department of Education, or whether it’s an actual policy fix that’s need,” she said. “I’m excited that we’re going to have this to work on. When bill filing comes in December, I’m hopeful that we’ll have a policy that we can all get behind.” 

The group’s trip continues Friday with two stops in St. Louis.

Categories: News