Charter Bill Needs a Change - Please Call

Posted 4/1/16

Please give your senator a call about the charter school bill before Monday afternoon.

While high quality charter schools can be a beneficial addition in chronically under-performing (D or F) school districts, they have the potential to harm good school districts by pulling away resources and diminishing the education provided to the vast majority of students. We believe that will be the result of the provision included in SB 2161 that allows students in C-rated districts to cross district lines to attend charters.

Lest those in high-performing districts believe they won't be affected, everyone should be aware of changes in the accountability model that will go into effect this year that could lower their school district's rating. The model includes a new component that grades districts based upon the percent of students who take accelerated courses (AP, IB, etc.) and the percent of those students who pass the exams.

The state has provided no additional funding to enable schools to hire and train additional teachers for these AP and other high-level courses or to pay for the students' exams (as much as $92 each). As stated in public comments to the Mississippi Department of Education when the model was under consideration in 2013, we at The Parents' Campaign believe that this segment of the accountability model should not be implemented without a commensurate increase in funding to cover the cost of its implementation.

The new model also places a greater emphasis on graduation rates. Neither of these changes, which are likely to drive down accountability ratings, is applicable to Mississippi's two charter schools, as neither school includes high school grades. The new accountability model, coupled with new and untested assessments, could result in lower ratings for many school districts.

Please ask your senator and Lt. Governor Reeves to send SB 2161 to conference where C districts can be removed from anything having to do with charter schools.

Find contact information for senators who represent your school district.

Lt. Governor Reeves Capitol: 601.359.3200

There is a tendency among some to cast C-rated districts as under-performing. To the contrary, a recent study shows that C-rated districts are doing some of the best work in our state. See that study. It is important that we not weaken these schools and diminish the education being provided their students.

Thank you for your tenacious work and for your commitment to engendering a system in which all Mississippi children have strong public schools. What a blessing you are to our children and our state! Please make those calls.