Each year, around 200,000 college graduates earn teaching degrees in the U.S. But the National Council on Teacher Quality released a report Tuesday explaining that colleges and universities are not doing enough to properly train future teachers. NCTQ is a Washington-based group that believes in fundamental education reforms. Of the 34 Missouri institutions included in its study, none received the highest score of four stars.
Four-year-old Jack Sander is picking up puzzle pieces in his living room. For a four-year-old, he’s got it pretty good: loving parents, a beautiful home on a golf course, a little brother, and some pretty cool toys. But there’s one thing he’s never been able to do.
“Jack has never been able to even try to go to the movies before,” says Dawn Sander, his mother.
Rep. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) and Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) heard from four supporters of Medicaid expansion at a legislative wrap-up session in Columbia Tuesday night. A little bit more than half of the one-hour meeting, hosted by the Boone County Pachyderms Club, was spent debating the expansion.
Missouri’s GOP super-majority blocked every Democratic attempt to increase Medicaid eligibility in the state, calling the program an expensive, yet broken system.
Supporters of the expansion said it would help low-income, working adults in Missouri who aren’t eligible for the program, but are too poor to afford their own insurance. Brian Smith of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center attended the meeting. He said when combined with cuts to Medicare provider reimbursements, the lack of Medicaid expansion would disproportionately hurt rural hospitals and might push them to close.
Both the Missouri House and Senate have instituted interim committees that would study ways to reform Medicaid. Rowden said he hopes to be involved in the discussion.
Thirty-five MU Health Care employees will see their hours reduced in the coming year. At Boone Hospital Center, seven employees’ hours will be cut, while 13 full- and part-time employees will lose their jobs.
In Boone Hospital’s case, the layoffs came in a system-wide package. The hospital’s parent company, St. Louis-based BJC Healthcare, recently announced it is cutting 160 jobs from its hospitals. This is the first time BJC has ever made system-wide layoffs. June Fowler, vice president for corporate and public communications at the company, said several factors led to the layoffs.
“BJC is experiencing reductions in our reimbursement for the healthcare services that we provide,” Fowler said. “We’ve also seen a decrease in inpatient hospitalizations.”
The mayors of Hallsville and Centralia, along with one Missouri legislator, have reached out to gun and ammunition manufacturers in an effort to attract those businesses as other states tighten gun restrictions.
State Representative Caleb Rowden said the decision to reach out to gun businesses is about improving the economy.
“This is a matter of jobs,” Rowden said. “If this was a different industry where it was so public that it made national news that these companies need relieving, I would have sent the same letter with some different bullet points.”
A last-minute move by Missouri lawmakers could make it easier for a Chinese conglomerate to buy one of the biggest pork producers in the U.S.
Legislators agreed on their final day of work in May to remove a ban on foreign ownership of agricultural land in Missouri. That change sets a foreign ownership limit at 1 percent of the state's agricultural land, subject to approval by the Missouri Department of Agriculture.