RED ALERT: Calls Needed Immediately!
A Senate strike-all amendment could make HB 1046 the most alarming bill we've seen this year. Here's why:
• Drains school budgets - takes MAEP money away from your school's already under-funded allocation and sends it to private academies.
• State budget buster - allows unlimited vouchers for private school tuition; if 10% of Mississippi students requested a voucher, the cost to the state could exceed $250-million; experts estimate that as many as 10 to 30% of students could qualify for a dyslexia diagnosis.
• Sends MS money out of state - funnels Mississippi tax dollars to private academies in any other state without limitation; use of vouchers in out-of-state schools is not limited to students in "border counties" or to schools "within a 30-mile radius."
• Invites fraud and abuse - similar laws in other states are rife with abuse; parents who desire private school tuition reimbursement can "shop" for the required diagnoses.
• Diminishes services for students - voucher students who have never attended public school would be counted as MAEP recipients, further dividing the same MAEP pie when schools are "level funded" and shrinking resources for students already receiving dyslexia services in public schools.
• Strips quality standards from dyslexia program - current program funds MDE-accredited, highly specialized schools that provide intensive dyslexia services to students; amendment strips MDE accreditation requirement.
• Gives choice to private schools, not parents - allows private voucher schools to pick and choose which voucher students to admit; requires voucher parents to submit to private schools' demands and policies.
Clearly, this bill benefits private and for-profit schools, not students. The bill must pass the Senate Appropriations Committee, which meets Tuesday (tomorrow), before getting to the floor for a vote.
Ask Appropriations Committee members and your senator to vote NO on HB 1046:
Find contact information for all legislators in your school district.
Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770
Share the same message with Lt. Governor Reeves: 601.359.3200
An ever-expanding body of research shows that vouchers are failing at improving academic outcomes for students. The most recent research finds that voucher students experience significant losses in achievement.
Mississippians cannot afford to have our tax dollars squandered on a scheme that benefits privatizers and profiteers at the expense of our children and our public schools. Please ask everyone you know to make those calls. Together, we've got this!