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All Work and No Play

Chris Dinkins

Greetings Friends of the 144th!

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but what does all play and no work make Jack?   Work ethic is an attribute that employers value in every industry. Some one without any work skills but with good work ethic is more valuable than the individual with the skills. An employer can teach someone a new skill. If you have an employee who has a skill but always shows up late, demonstrates bad work habits, lack of concern for deadlines etc,; the employer gets less productivity from them even though they have more skills.

Work ethic is not something we are born with, it’s a learned behavior. It must be taught and modeled. It is our responsibility as parents, grandparents, guardians, caregivers, to teach and model good work ethic. Yes, it is easier just to do the work yourself but you are doing the child a disservice to not require that they do some. If you truly want your child to be successful in life you will help them to develop a strong work ethic. Good work ethic doesn’t develop overnight and is something that should be fostered along from an early age. It puts a smile on my face every time I see a youngster working regardless of what the task is, paid or unpaid.

Do your part to teach, model, and encourage our young people so that will develop a strong work ethic that will stay with them all of their life no matter what they decide to do with their future.

Missouri Department of Agriculture Offers AgriStress Helpline for Farmers

Farmers dealing with excessive stress now have a new resource they can access for help. The Missouri Department of Agriculture recently announced the new AgriStress Helpline to provide 24/7 assistance to farm families struggling with mental health.

The new helpline is part of the AgriSafe Network, which is a non-profit organization comprised of health professionals and educators who strive to reduce health disparities found among the agricultural community. AgriSafe was formed in 2003 by rural nurses who believed that together they could improve the health and safety of farmers and ranchers.  The AgriSafe mission is to support a growing network of trained agricultural health and safety professionals who ensure access to preventative services for farm families and the agricultural community.

Farmers struggling with mental health should call or text 833.897.2474 for the AgriStress Helpline. This resource is free, confidential and agriculture-focused.

First MoScholars Scholarships Awarded 

It was in 2021 that the General Assembly passed legislation to establish the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program, otherwise known as MOScholars. This week the Missouri State Treasurer, who oversees the program, announced nearly 400 scholarships have been awarded to students to attend their school of choice.

The Missouri House made the MOScholars Program a top priority during the 2021 legislative session and passed both HB 349 and SB 86 to bring it into existence. The goal of the program is to empower parents to have access to schools and educational resources that will best meet the needs of their children. The program provides state tax credits for contributions to approved, non-profit Educational Assistance Organizations (EAOs). These EAOs use the contributions to award scholarships to Missouri students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and students living in low-income households.

MOScholars gives Missouri students with special needs and from low-income households the opportunity to attend a school that can better meet their educational needs. The nearly 400 scholarships come from six EAOs and provide scholarships to students in all eligible regions of the state. More than $3.2 million in tax credits have been reserved for contributions to EAOs. Nearly 2,000 Missouri students have applied to the program.

 More information about the program, tax credits, and a list of certified EAOs and eligibility requirements, can be found at

State Education Department Releases Preliminary Assessment Data 

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) recently released preliminary 2021-22 Grade Level and End-of-Course (EOC) assessment statewide data. The results represent data from the required state assessments: English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics for grades 3-8; Science for grades 5 and 8; and English II, Algebra I, Biology, and Government EOCs. Results for optional EOC assessments (American History, Algebra I, English I, Geometry, and Physical Science) were released as well.

Preliminary results show some improvement over the prior year, but state totals have not yet reached pre-pandemic levels. ELA had mixed results by grade level. Mathematics and science scores increased in all grades and courses, while social studies/government showed slight decreases in proficiency. Statewide advanced and proficient performance levels are as follows:

ELA: 43 percent    Math: 39 percent     Science: 38 percent.    Social Studies: 40 percent

The COVID-19 pandemic continued to cause learning disruptions, periods of quarantine, and chronic absenteeism of both students and staff for the 2021-22 school year.

More information regarding the preliminary assessment data can be viewed at District and school level reports will be available in December when the data are finalized.

 As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns, or suggestions you might have. As your Representative, I am here to assist you however I can. I can be reached by email at or by phone at 573-751-2112. Please do not contact me via social media. These messages are easy to overlook and may not be responded to in a timely manner.

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