Efforts to Change Education in Mississippi

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Democrats who pushed Mississippi's Education Reform Act into law 30 years ago say current leaders are offering small-scale ideas about public schools.

In December 1982, Gov. William Winter called a special session and persuaded lawmakers to pass the act, which included compulsory attendance, addition of teachers' aides and creation of kindergarten.

Friday at Millsaps College, Winter said politicians have lost the momentum and the will to make difficult changes in education.

One of Winter's former staffers, Dick Molpus, said proposals for charter schools and vouchers would affect only a small percentage of students, even if enacted.

Current Gov. Gov. Phil Bryant and other Republicans are pushing charters, which are public schools free of some regulations.

Bryant proposes tax credits to create about 2,200 scholarships for children to attend private schools.