Missouri should be first state to apply for to have a high-speed Hyperloop system built within its borders. That’s the recommendation released today from the Special Blue Ribbon Panel on Hyperloop formed by Missouri House Speaker Elijah Haahr (R-Springfield).
The Panel wants Missouri to be first in building a national certification track. It would be the first step toward seeing a Hyperloop connection between Kansas City and St. Louis, offering passengers a trip between the two in less than 30 minutes.
Haahr said the Hyperloop would keep Missouri at the forefront of transportation technology developments and revolutionize the movement of passengers and freight across the state, while opening up the possibility for ultra-fast travel to other locations in the country in the future. It is also projected that it would reduce fatalities in I-70 as well as carbon emissions.
The test track would cost between $300-million and $500-million.
Learn more about the Panel’s proposal by watching the conference presented today on the University of Missouri campus:
The Chair of the House subcommittee that deals with education funding says he will recommend the legislature put off a performance-based funding mechanism for state-supported colleges and universities.
Cedarcreek Republican Lyle Rowland’s subcommittee heard from those institutions’ presidents over the course of two days and said many of them wanted the same things: a delay in implementation of that plan, and a restoration of their core funding.
The state budget proposed last month by Governor Eric Greitens (R) would cut higher education funding by 10-percent, or roughly $100-million, from its Fiscal Year 2018 level. Also in early January, the Coordinating Board for Higher Education approved linking 10-percent of funding for publicly-backed colleges and universities to performance factors such as students’ job placement, degree completion, and budgetary practices. The model would look back at institutions’ performance over the past three years.
The combination means it is possible, though unlikely, that any given institution could see a decrease of as much as 20-percent in year-to-year state support.
Rowland said he agrees with the institution presidents who told him implementing performance-based funding now puts them at a disadvantage.
Rowland’s panel on Wednesday heard from University of Missouri System President Mun Choi, who touted to lawmakers the system’s accomplishments but coupled that with words of caution.
He said 90-percent of Mizzou’s students found a job within six months or moved on to graduate school; research is yielding advancements in the agriculture and medical fields; and Missouri S&T last summer beat out other universities from around the world in a competition to design a Mars rover.
The ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Kip Kendrick (Columbia), has been one of several lawmakers expressing concern about the timing of performance-based funding. He thinks most legislators will agree it should be pushed back.
Rowland will submit his recommendation to the full budget committee. That committee will develop its own state budget proposal to be considered by the full House. Eventually the House and Senate will have to agree on a state spending plan to be sent to the governor.
The Task Force’s report to legislative leaders and the governor recommends that all students in kindergarten through grade three be screened for dyslexia and related disorders beginning in the 2018-19 school year. It also recommends that students who have not been previously screened, and who have been identified as “struggling” in literacy, be screened.
It is also recommended that schools require two hours of in-service training in assessing reading difficulties. Currently schools are required only to offer such training.
Swan said it is also important that Missouri colleges’ and universities’ teacher education programs address dyslexia characteristics, identification, and intervention.
Task Force member Erica Lembke chairs the Department of Special Education at the University of Missouri. She said she is excited about what the recommendations could mean for teacher education programs.
The Task Force’s report says the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) should recommend a process for universal screening that includes a multi-tiered support system. It stresses that districts should make clear to parents that a positive screening for dyslexia is not a diagnosis.
The Task Force was created with the passage of House Bill 2379 in 2016. It required that public schools in Missouri screen for dyslexia and related disorders, and established that DESE would develop rules for screenings based on the Task Force’s recommendations.
The state House has finalized its proposed budget for state aid to colleges and universities for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Another favorable vote will send that plan to the Senate for its consideration.
That plan would reduce funding to the University of Missouri by 9-percent, or $50-million, compared to the current fiscal year. This was part of a reduction across all higher education due to the need to reduce spending. Lawmakers blocked on Tuesday attempts to take additional money from MU. House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick (R-Shell Knob) urged legislators to not seek to penalize MU over its handling of racial tensions, as many sought to do during last year’s budget debates.
The House also rejected attempts to redirect money that goes toward Lincoln University’s land grant status and the federal dollars that come with it. This was of particular importance to Democrats, including the top Democrat on the Budget Committee, Michael Butler (D-St. Louis).
Democrats attempted to remove language in the higher education budget that blocks state money from going to higher education institutions that offer less than the international tuition rate, or scholarships, to students lacking lawful immigration status.
Historic documents related to a key figure in African Americans’ struggle for equal opportunity in education should be elevated to a national stage, according to a state representative.
Representative Joshua Peters (D-St. Louis) is offering a resolution that would urge the University of Missouri’s Board of Curators to transfer the Lloyd Gaines collection to the Smithsonian Institution.
In 1936 Gaines applied for admission to the University of Missouri law school. He was denied admission based on his race, and the state offered to pay the additional cost Gaines would incur to study law out of state, as was the state’s policy at the time. Gaines declined and sued.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Gaines’ favor, saying that the “separate but equal” doctrine of the time demanded that Gaines either be admitted to the University of Missouri or that the state create a separate school for African American students.
The state chose the latter course, and created the Lincoln University School of Law in St. Louis.
Peters says Gaines’ case led to the Brown vs. Board of Education case in Topeka, Kansas, which found the “separate but equal” practice of separating white and black students was inherently unequal, and unconstitutional.
After the Lincoln University School of Law was established, the NAACP was preparing to file a lawsuit challenging its adequacy. Around that time Gaines disappeared. What happened to him remains unknown.
Gary Kremer, the Executive Director of the State Historical Society, said Gaines’ disappearance is a lingering mystery of the civil rights movement.
The Lloyd Gaines collection at the University of Missouri includes the letters Gaines wrote applying for admission, and the University’s responses denying his application due to his race.
Gaines has since been honored by the University, which named its Black Culture Center and a law scholarship for him and another African American student who was denied admission. In 2006 he was granted an honorary law degree, followed by the Missouri Bar Association issuing him a posthumous law license. Gaines’ portrait hangs in the University of Missouri law school building.