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Missouri lawmakers approve education, drug treatment court bills as they finish special session

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JEFFERSON CITY • Missouri legislators wrapped up a week-long special session on Friday, sending two pieces of legislation — one dealing with computer science education, the other dealing with drug treatment courts — to Gov. Mike Parson.This week was the first in which Parson, a Republican who took office in June after the resignation of Gov. Eric Greitens, presided over state government while lawmakers considered legislation.Parson vetoed two bills dealing with computer science and treatment courts over the summer. Rather than risk lawmakers overriding his vetoes, he called a special session so that lawmakers could start from scratch.
The Senate voted 28-1 to send Parson legislation designed to encourage computer science education in public schools. The measure allows high school students to substitute a math, science or practical arts credit needed for graduation with a computer science credit.Skeptics worried the legislation would steer students away from basic math and science courses in favor of computer science.”Math is unfortunately the course that so many students get into high school and try to avoid,” said Sen. Jill Schupp, a Creve Coeur Democrat who was the lone “no” vote in the Senate. Proponents countered that students interested in computer science also tend to be interested in math and science. They say encouraging classes such as coding is an economic development tool.Parents and guardians will be required to sign a form acknowledging that substituting a math or science class for a computer science class could adversely affect college admission decisions.The legislation also allows the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to select a nonprofit that could solicit proposals from companies — the objective being for the company to help launch a science, technology, engineering and mathematics — or STEM — career awareness program in the state.Schupp said that giving a nonprofit the ability …


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