Sen. Doug Libla’s Jan. 8 Update

Last week, my office hosted an “Education Forum” at Three Rivers College for Southeast Missouri K-12 Superintendents; over 40 schools were represented. The theme of the forum was: “are we teaching what is needed for the 21st century?”

Mr. Phil Bounds retired in 2013 following a stellar career with NASA and spent many years in the U.S. Air Force as a senior strategic security advisor including communication management assignments with the National Security Agency (NSA), NASA’s Space Shuttle program, NASA’s International Space Station and the White House, made a powerful presentation about cyber security and the many career opportunities in computer science, not only in the federal government, but in the public sector as well. Mr. Bounds is a native of Butler County and has relocated back to Poplar Bluff; he is very anxious to help our communities with technological advances and information about how to thwart cyberattacks and more.

During the forum, it was determined that more computer science classes are needed in our schools. Graduating students with expertise in this field are in high demand and high paying jobs are often available to students with computer science backgrounds and degrees. We need to begin offering these classes as soon as possible.

Senator Gary Romine, R- Farmington, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, fielded questions and moderated discussion regarding the State Board of Education and other important topics of interest to those attending.

Thanks to the superintendents and school board members who attended and thanks to Three Rivers College for allowing us to use the beautiful Robert Plaster “Free Enterprise” Building and lecture hall.

Update: Jan. 10

I filed Senate Bill 894, which will require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to develop a high school graduation policy that allows academic credit for a district-approved computer science course. Senate Bill 894 will also require academic performance standards be adopted and implemented by the 2020-2021 school year.