Charter Schools Debated at Capitol

By: Ashley Conroy Email
By: Ashley Conroy Email

Lawmakers continue to debate whether to add charter schools to the state.

The House passed an amendment to Senate Bill 2293 called "Innovative School Act of 2010," which would consolidate twelve school districts throughout the state.

House Education chairman, Cecil Brown, a Democrat, says this is a good alternative to creating a new charter school.

"If you start a new school district, and it's a publicly funded school, like charter schools are, then you're draining resources away from the existing school district, " Brown said.

According to the Mississippi Department of Education, the state currently has fifty-three schools classified as 'failing', and an additional 158 that are considered 'at risk' of failing.

Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, says changing Mississippi's current education system is long overdue.

"Fifty-three that have failed. Fifty three schools are classified by the Department of Education as failing," Bryant said. "And yet we do nothing."

Schools like in Hazlehurst have been consistently ranked as failing for several years. The state eventually had to take over and removed their superintendent with a state conservator.

Grant Cullen from Mississippi for Public Policy says that adding charter schools could help prevent this by giving parents options.

"If they don't have the resources to send them to a private school, or if they can't home school them or move them to a different district, really they're stuck where they are," Cullen said.

Charter schools has been an ongoing debate between Senate Republicans and House Democrats for several years.

The Innovative School Act of 2010 added on Tuesday was the first time the House has passed a piece of legislation regarding charter schools.

Meanwhile, Wednesday the Senate passed an amendment to the House version that was similar to the initial Senate Bill 2293.

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  • by Researcher Location: Meridian on Mar 17, 2010 at 04:44 PM
    What is a charter school? This should provide everyone with the information you need to become informed.
  • by Charter School is the Way Location: Kemper on Mar 11, 2010 at 02:08 PM
    We are lack in the Kemper County School and I think that Charter Schools would do our county schools some good.Get them dead beat teacher outer of those class room and bring good teacher in place. Our students for once don't have anywhere to go. If the teacher are not teach the students go with the flow.Like play card, listening to radio and whatever their little heart let them do.It's sad went you have students that cann't ever read.
  • by Let's try it on Mar 11, 2010 at 12:45 PM
    Charter schools fit in a niche between private and public schools. They are funded with public money (except for their facilities) and they are an alternative to regular public schools systems. A private group of people can submit and get approved a charter to run their own school. Charter schools receive waivers from public school districts in exchange for promising better academic results. Charters are usually given for 3-5 years, where an eye is kept on academic performance. If academic performance lags behind comparable public schools, then the “charter” is pulled and the school is closed.
  • by Everette Location: Union on Mar 11, 2010 at 12:22 PM
    Well i Hear This About Having ( Charter Schools) In The First Place I'm Sure I Am Not The only One who Dont Know What A (Charter School)Is But It Might Help The Public To Understand If They Knew What This Term Means,Is this perhaps A School For Kids Who Will Not Pay Attention In School And Try To Learn,If It Is A Board About 18 Inches In Length Will Solve This Problem At Least They How My Teachers At Lauderdale High School Got Students To Pay Attention And We Passed Our Grades Each Year And Graduated High School And Received A Diploma.
  • by Make the Changes! Location: Meridian on Mar 11, 2010 at 10:12 AM
    Well, it is long over due that our state representatives start making the necessary, but maybe not popular decisions that will bring our school systems out of the lowest ranking nationally. Charter schools give parents choices for their children that they might not otherwise have. Charter schools also have the reputation for having students that are there to LEARN. Parents of students in charter schools are more involved in alot of cases and as we all know when parents become involved, the students' performance improves. Look at the positive results in other states that have charter schools- such as Louisiana. For once, please let our legislature stop trying to fix something that has long been broke and make changes for a brighter future for our children! Sure, this means funding- but how about we stop wasting money on funding schools that are not showing any ability to improve and use those funds to introduce charter schools..
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