As the Center for Education Reform reports, Mississippi has allowed charter schools since 2010 but has no charter schools in operation. Its law is considered “in name only” and was merely enacted in order to be eligible for federal Race to the Top funding. The law allows for failing schools to be converted to charters and limits the number of conversions to 12 within six years.
Mississippi also requires the State Board of Education, rather than an independent board, to approve charter schools — a “fox-guarding-the-henhouse” type policy. The new proposal would put into place an independent charter- school board to authorize would-be charters, and while “preference will be given to the formation of charter schools that would serve at-risk students … [it] does not prohibit parents from starting charters in districts that have public schools with high performance levels.”
Unfortunately, while the original proposal included a provision for virtual charter schools, the committee included language that “expressly prohibits the payment of state funds to virtual public charter schools …and/or their management organizations.”
With the growing possibilities that online learning affords students, this move by the committee is shortsighted and limits students’ educational options. Online learning has the potential to adapt to students’ unique learning needs. Additionally, virtual education gives students flexibility in when and where they learn and allows students access to courses that may not otherwise be available in their limited geographical area.
Online learning is reaching more than a million students across the nation. Mississippi need not limit itself.
- Senator Nancy Collins: Charter schools needed to improve all public schools (mississippipep.wordpress.com)
- Tupelo TEA Party pushback on Lee County administrators misuse of school resources against charter schools reaping some benefits. (mississippipep.wordpress.com)