Archived 2014 "Recent News" Posts
Time to Rally for Adequate School Funding!
Posted 12/30/2014
Tired of politicians running roughshod over public education? It's time to send them a message and stop their plan to kill the people's Better Schools, Better Jobs funding amendment.
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VIRTUAL RALLY on Wednesday, January 7
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With Revenue at Record Levels, JLBC Says Cut Budgets, Bank Money
Posted 12/9/14
Although Mississippi is projected to have more money on hand than ever before, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) is recommending that state services be cut by more than $112-million. The recommendation underfunds the Mississippi Adequate Education Program  (MAEP) by $280-million. Read more here .
Midtown Public Charter School Approved, Mississippi Ranked 3rd for Charter Policies
Posted 12/5/14
The Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board today approved the state's second charter school, Midtown Public Charter School in Jackson. A proposal for Inspire Charter School in Columbus was denied. Also today, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers ranked Mississippi third among 43 states for best practices in authorizing new charter schools. Read more here.
Bryant Budget Fails Children 
Posted 11/19/2014
Governor Bryant's budget recommendation for the coming legislative session provides Mississipians the perfect reason to vote for the Better Schools, Better Jobs ballot initiative next November. Announced Monday, Bryant's budget proposal underfunds the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) by roughly $260-million, despite state revenue being at its highest level in history. Read more here.
School Funding: What State Leaders Aren't Telling You 
Posted 10/28/2014
In the wake of the most recent round of attacks on the MAEP and excuses for inadequate school funding, The Parents’ Campaign Research and Education Fund (TPCREF) took a hard look at the realities of the state budget. The numbers tell a very different story from what our elected officials want us to believe. Mississippi’s state budget has grown by $2-billion since 2008. How much of that growth was invested in our public schools? None. In fact, K-12 education had a net loss for that seven-year period. Read more here.
The Great Lie that is School Choice 
Posted 10/23/2014
The idea that parents should be able to choose which school is best for their child may sound good on the surface. But the people who promote "school choice" have a secret they don’t want you to know: when it comes to school choice (vouchers for private school tuition), it isn’t parents who do the choosing. Private schools choose their students, not the other way around. Read more here.
2014 School and District Accountability Ratings Released 
Posted 10/17/2014
The 2014 school and district accountability ratings were released today. These ratings in part reflect results of MCT2 tests, which districts were required to administer, even though most districts had transitioned to teaching under the new standards. Because what was tested was not what was taught, districts were told that they would be held harmless for this year's ratings. Under the "hold harmless" provision, some schools and districts kept their higher ratings from the previous year. Click here to see the 2014 school and district ratings and graduation rates. Read more here
 Mississippi Voters Say Put School Funding on Ballot 
 Posted 10/7/2014
In just five short months, nearly 200,000 Mississippians signed petitions demanding better funding for Mississippi public schools. Thank you, thank you, to the moms, dads, grandparents, teachers, church families, and community leaders who signed petitions and helped gather signatures for the Better Schools, Better Jobs initiative. Circuit clerks also deserve a big tip of the hat for their diligent work to certify so many signatures in such a short period of time. The number of signatures certified by the deadline easily surpasses the number required to get the measure on the ballot, with an excess of more than 13,000. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann will now review the signatures before certifying that the initiative will be placed on the November 2015 ballot. 
Lawmakers Blame Schools at Budget Hearing
posted 10/1/2014
When the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) presented its FY 2016 budget request to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) yesterday, members of the committee had a number of questions and comments for MDE. Some JLBC members expended a lot of energy criticizing schools; none was spent on the fact that the Legislature has withheld $1.5-billion from public schools in the last several years. Read more here.
Joint Legislative Budget Committee to Hold Budget Hearings
posted 9/26/2014
School funding will be the hot topic when the Mississippi Department of Education meets with the Joint Legislative Budget Committee next Tuesday, with Mississippi children's futures hanging in the balance. The Mississippi Legislature has consistently failed to meet its obligation to provide adequate education funding for Mississippi children, under-funding what is required by state law by $257-million this year and by more than $1.5-billion since 2008. Taxpayers can weigh in on school funding by contacting budget committee members. Read more here

Transition Year for State Test Scores

posted 8/26/2014 

The Mississippi Department of Education has released the scores from the state assessments Mississippi students took last spring. However, because the tests measured a set of standards that most districts did not teach, those results are fairly meaningless. The test scores from one district to the next do not represent an apples-to-apples comparison. Some districts have moved fully to the new, higher standards, meaning the course of study taught in their schools was not aligned at all to the state tests. Others are transitioning more slowly, using a blended model of old and new standards. Most districts saw a slight drop in test scores, as was expected. Read more here.  


Time to Go for a Big Win!

posted 8/15/2014 

Are you ready for some football? How about better school funding? Click here to find out how you can help push the Better Schools, Better Jobs petition drive over the finish line. The goal is to wrap up most of the signature collection in early September to give circuit clerks plenty of time to verify signatures before the early-October certification deadline.


Has Your Legislator Signed the Petition?

The Parents' Campaign Supports the School Funding Amendment, Opposes MAEP Lawsuit

posted 7/23/2014 

Our challenge to every legislator and elected official is to make our children a priority and sign the petition to get the Better Schools, Better Jobs school funding amendment on the ballot. Snap a photo as you sign, and share it with your constituents via Twitter, Facebook, etc.

In a separate issue, there is currently a move afoot to sue the State of Mississippi for the $1.5-billion that school districts have been shorted since 2008. While this money certainly is owed to schools, this particular lawsuit is a very bad idea. A court ruling requiring back payment of $1.5-billion would bankrupt our state and would make it nearly impossible for legislators to fully fund schools moving into the future.

The Parents' Campaign strongly supports the Better Schools, Better Jobs amendment to strengthen our constitution and require the Legislature to invest adequately in our schools when revenue is available. We oppose the lawsuit and urge school districts not to join it. Read more here.

 Mississippi Public Schools Rely on Federal Funds 
posted 6/9/2014 
Public education supporters cannot afford to be naive about the effect that federal elections have on our schools. Those we elect to the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives are responsible for shaping and voting on the budgets that determine the federal funds that flow to each state, including the vital federal dollars that help fund our children's schools. Click here to see how much your district received in federal funding in the 2012-2013 school year. The current Senate and Congressional elections can have a big impact on the resources available to our schools. Your vote matters, both in the June 24 primary runoff and in the November 4 general election. Read more here.
Better Schools, Better Jobs Ballot Initiative 
posted 6/3/2014 
Have you signed a petition yet? A group called Better Schools, Better Jobs is working to amend the state constitution to require gradual increases in MAEP funding, whenever revenue grows, until full funding is reached. Full funding would be mandated each year after that. More than 100,000 signatures on petitions will be required just to get the initiative on the ballot. If just 20 people in every school district were to collect 50 signatures each, that would yield 1,000 signatures per district, surpassing the total requirement. Parent volunteers are already working hard to gather signatures in many districts. To find out how you can get involved, read more here.
Jackson Charter School Application Approved 
posted 6/2/2014 
The first charter school application to be approved in Mississippi is for Reimagine Prep in Jackson. It plans to open in the fall of 2015 to serve 110 students in grade 5, gradually expanding to serve 440 students in grades 5-8 by 2018. The Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board denied applications today for groups hoping to open charter schools in Columbus and Natchez. Read more here.
Charter School Public Hearings 
posted 5/20/2014 
The Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board is holding public hearings this week in three communities - Columbus, Jackson, and Natchez - where applicants hope to locate charter schools. Out of 12 original applicants, only three were approved to proceed to the interview stage of the application process; those interviews were held on May 8. The board will make final determinations on those three applications in June. In this week's public hearings, applicants will present their plans and members of the public will be allowed to make comments. See details here.
Your School District's Funding for 2014-2015 
posted 5/15/2014 
Despite impressive increases in state revenue for the last three years, Mississippi children are once again being denied the funding that state law says is needed to provide them even an adequate education for the next school year. Click here to see how much your district will receive and the amount by which your schools are underfunded. The claims by some lawmakers that they are doing the best they can have fallen flat. Reports by the Department of Revenue and the Legislative Budget Office make it clear that state revenue has been more than sufficient to provide our children the quality education they deserve; it is simply the political will that is lacking. Legislators have chosen to spend more than 86 percent of the increase in state revenue on something other than our kids' schools. Click here to read more.
Governor Signs Teacher Pay Raise, Ed Funding Bills 
posted 4/22/2014 
Governor Bryant has signed into law HB 504 giving Mississippi teachers $2,500 in salary increases over the next two years. He has also signed HB 1476, the K-12 funding bill, which funds public schools $257-million below what is considered adequate for a "C" level education. Read more here.
Voucher Bill Dies on Senate Calendar  
posted 4/2/2014 
After failing in the House of Representatives today on a vote of 57-63, the voucher bill died when the Senate adjourned sine die without taking up the bill. See the House vote here.
Voucher Bill Defeated in House, Held on Motion to Reconsider  
posted 4/2/2014 

HB 765, the voucher bill, failed in the House of Representatives today on a vote of 57-63. The Speaker of the House had ruled that only a majority vote was required. Rep. John Moore held the bill on a motion to reconsider. The Senate has not yet taken up that conference report. 
Voucher Debate Delayed in House
posted 4/1/2014
House debate on the voucher bill conference report was delayed until tomorrow when Rep. David Baria raised a point of order, citing the provision in Section 66 of the State Constitution that requires a 2/3 vote on measures  The measure is the first bill on the Senate calendar for tomorrow.
  House and Senate Pass Teacher Pay Raise
posted 4/1/2014
The House and Senate passed the conference report on HB 504, the teacher pay raise, today. It provides for across the board raises totaling $2,500 over two years, followed by a School Recognition Program that includes financial awards to be shared by teachers and staff. Read more here
 K-12 Funding Bill Adopted by House and Senate
posted 3/31/2014
The House and Senate have adopted a K-12 budget that underfunds the MAEP by $255-million. The voucher bill remains on the calendar. Read more here 
  Teacher Pay Raise Conference Report Filed
posted 3/31/2014
The conference report on HB 504, the teacher pay raise, has been filed and awaits votes in the House and Senate this week. It provides for across the board raises totaling $2,500 over two years, followed by a School Recognition Program that includes financial awards to be shared by teachers and staff. Read more here.
 Voucher Conference Report More of the Same
K-12 Funding Rumored to Be Poor, Teacher Pay Raise Up in Air
posted 3/29/2014
The conference report on the voucher bill does not deliver the remedies promised, with no real substantive changes. The agreement reached on K-12 funding is rumored to be yet another breach of the promise made to our kids - not even a decent effort at meeting their obligation. And teacher pay remains up in the air. Is this what your legislators promised when they campaigned for election? Get the details here.
 Parents, Families Oppose Voucher Bill  
posted 3/27/2014   
Click here to read a letter from a mom whose child could qualify for a voucher under HB 765. She writes beautifully about the realities surrounding this bill and the bigger picture for public education in Mississippi. She shared the letter with us today after sending it to Lt. Gov. Reeves, Speaker Gunn, and all legislators. Families As Allies, a family group that advocates on behalf of children with special needs, also has expressed opposition to this bill. See their reasons here
Governor Signs Repeal of School Start Date Act  
posted 3/26/2014   

Gov. Bryant late this afternoon signed SB 2571, repealing the School Start Date Act. Local school boards will be free once again to set their own school calendars. See the press release from the governor's office here
More Funding Available, MS Voucher Bill Pushed by Florida For-profit Lobbyists 
posted 3/25/2014 
Today, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee revised the revenue estimates for this year and next, increasing the funds available to appropriate by almost $250-million. Yesterday, a tweet revealed that the Florida lobbyists who pushed for-profit and virtual charters in Mississippi last year is backing the voucher bill being pushed here this year. Another group reported that the same voucher bill is popping up in other states in a nationwide push to privatize public education. Will your legislators vote to privatize and "profitize" Mississippi's public schools? Read more here
  Teacher Pay Raise Funding Does Not Count Toward Full Funding of MAEP 
posted 3/19/2014 
Speaker Philip Gunn said in a radio interview that he counts funding for a teacher pay raise as going toward full funding of the MAEP. That's not how it works. The teacher pay raise is a promise to teachers. MAEP is a promise to our children. Both are important, and one does not replace the other. Schools need both. Read more here.
  Lots to Report on Deadline Day 
posted 3/12/2014 
Today the Senate added $60-million to the MAEP funding bill, the House sent the teacher pay raise bill to conference, the Senate passed an amended version of a voucher bill, and the House let another voucher bill die on the calendar. Get the details here.  
Senate Increases MAEP Funding by $60-million 
posted 3/12/2014  
Today the Senate voted 26-24 to add $60-million to MAEP in the K-12 funding bill, HB 1476. Thanks to Sen. Hob Bryan for proposing the amendment to increase MAEP and to the other 25 senators who joined him to support it. See the vote report here.
Tomorrow is Deadline for Voucher Bills 
posted 3/11/2014 

Voucher bills are among those facing tomorrow's calendar deadline, TPC members report good news and frustrations from their conversations with legislators, and some House members take advantage of an opportunity to stand up for public schools. Read about those and more here.  
 Senate Passes Teacher Pay Raise Bill, Ed Funding and Vouchers Still on Calendars   
posted 3/7/2014
The Senate this week passed its own version of a teacher pay raise plan, differing from the previously passed House bill by providing higher increases up front (beginning July 2014) and eliminating the benchmark requirements. The Senate plan also provides for a performance-based stipend available to teachers beginning in 2016. 
The K-12 funding bill is on the Senate calendar and must be voted on by March 18; ask your legislators to amend the bill to add more funding to MAEP. Both special needs voucher bills are awaiting votes; ask legislators to vote NO on SB 2325 and HB 765. Click here for information from a Mississippi special needs advocacy group that has announced its opposition to the voucher bills, citing among its concerns the loss of IDEA protection for special needs children and the lack of oversight of private voucher schools. 
Privatizing and "Profitizing" Public Education  
posted 3/4/2014
Privatizing and "profitizing" public education? That is exactly what the voucher bills being debated in the MS Legislature are intended to do - and they have "disingenuous" and "unintended consequences" written all over them. House Education Committee members were promised voucher amendments that never materialized. The Senate Education Committee made a few changes to the House voucher bill, but it remains very broad, allows private schools receiving vouchers to cherry-pick students, and explicitly states that private voucher schools cannot be regulated or held accountable for the quality of education they provide. Furthermore, neither bill requires private voucher schools to provide any special education services whatsoever. Ask legislators to vote "no" on SB 2325 and HB 765. Click here to read more. 
Legislators Pushing Special Needs Vouchers Vote Against 
Funding for Accommodations
posted 2/26/2014
Legislators who are pushing for private school vouchers for children with special needs - and who blast public schools for providing too few accommodations - are among those who routinely vote against the funding needed to provide accommodations for special needs students. Read more here.
  House Fails to Increase MAEP Funding
Posted 2/25/2014
This afternoon, an attempt was made in the House of Representatives to increase the MAEP appropriation in HB 1476, the K-12 funding bill. That effort failed when 66 House members voted instead to send the bill to the Senate without increasing MAEP funding. Check the vote report here to see how your representative voted. Please thank the 53 representatives who voted to reconsider the bill and allow amendments to increase MAEP. Read more here. The bill now goes to the Senate. Please contact members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, your own senator, and the lieutenant governor and ask them to increase significantly the MAEP funding in HB 1476. Capitol switchboard: 601-359-3770 
Important Ed Funding Vote Coming
Posted 2/24/2014
Will your representative be the one to deny our kids adequate school funding? Or will your representative's vote be the one to solidify a shot at a decent education? One vote - your representative's vote - could make the difference. The K-12 funding bill (HB1476) is being held on a motion to reconsider, which means the House has a chance to redeem itself for the inexcusable level of underfunding that the bill currently appropriates for the MAEP. We will need the support of representatives on two key votes to win better funding for our schools. 
First, we will need representatives to vote to reconsider the bill so that an amendment can be offered. A "no" vote on this motion is a vote against better funding (it denies us a chance to add more funding to the bill). Second, we will need representatives' support on the amendment to increase MAEP funding.
We will report both votes. Please call, email, text, tweet, AND message your representative and ask for support on both of those votes. Ask your friends to do the same. (Find social media contacts here.) This could be the last opportunity the House will have this session to vote on the funding bill.
Another Chance to Amend Education Funding Bill 
Posted 2/20/2014 
Legislators will get another shot at increasing the MAEP funding in HB1476 when the bill is taken up for reconsideration. We expect that to happen on Monday, and we hear the amendment could pass. Your help is needed to ensure success. Read more here.
  Ed Funding Bill Still Pending 
Posted 2/19/2014 
The House did not take up HB 1476 this afternoon, but will be in session again tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. You can watch the live webcast of House proceedings here. If you have not already called your representative about this bill, please do so now. Ask your rep to vote to amend or recommit this bill to increase MAEP funding. Capitol switchboard: 601-359-3770. Also, please call Speaker Gunn at 601-359-3300 and ask him to support amending or recommitting HB 1476.
HB 1476 Grossly Underfunds MAEP 
Posted 2/18/2014 
 This morning, the House Appropriations Committee passed HB1476, the K-12 funding bill. The bill provides no increase in the MAEP beyond a $25-million allocation for the first half-year of a proposed teacher pay raise. Though state revenue has surpassed 2008 levels, House Bill 1476 funds schools almost $100-million below what they received in 2008. Click here to read more and to see how much your district has been underfunded in the last six years and what you stand to lose next year.
We're Making Progress! 
Posted 2/13/14 
Of the 38 troublesome bills we warned of a few weeks ago, only 3 remain alive - that's real progress! One of the remaining three is not subject to today's deadline and hasn't been considered, and the other two - both voucher bills - have been amended to slow down their progression. Click here to read more. 
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with your legislators about these important bills. We can't expect legislators to read our minds; they need to hear from us!
Floor Deadline TomorrowVoucher Bills On Tap for Votes 
Posted 2/12/2014  
Tomorrow is the deadline for the House and Senate to vote on bills originating in their own chambers. Voucher bills HB 765, SB 2325, and HB 831 remain on the calendars and could be voted on tomorrow. Please ask your legislators to vote NO on these bills. Read more here. Also today, HB 502, the alternative to the New Start School law, was defeated in the House on a motion to recommit. A similar bill is still alive in the Senate; read more about the legislation to address chronically failing schools here.
House of Representatives Passes Teacher Pay Raise 
Posted 2/5/2014 
The House of Representatives passed a teacher pay raise this afternoon on a vote of 86-26. Read about the debate here. See a description of the pay raise bill here.
Voucher Bills Headed for Floor Vote - Ask Legislators to Vote No 
Posted 2/4/2014 
Three voucher bills have passed out of committee, two in the House and one in the Senate, and they are headed to the full chambers for votes. These bills divert taxpayer dollars intended for public schools to pay tuition at private schools with no accountability for the quality of education they provide. Read more here.
 House Education Committee Passes Teacher Pay Raise Bill 
Posted 2/3/2014  
 The House Education Committee this afternoon passed a bill to give teachers up to a $4,250 pay raise over four years. Read more here.
Troublesome Bills   
Posted 1/30/2014  
 Numerous bills have been filed that address school funding changes, open enrollment (crossing district lines), vouchers, charter schools, school standards, and how school boards are selected. Most of these bills have not yet been taken up in committee; the deadline for committees to act on bills that originated in their own chambers is Tuesday, Feb. 4. If any of these bills make it out of committee and onto the calendar for a floor vote, your help will be needed to get them amended or defeated to ensure that our children's education is protected. See the bills here.  
Voucher Bills Filed This Session  
Posted 1/28/2014 

 A number of voucher bills that are designed to divert taxpayer dollars from public schools to private schools have been introduced this legislative session. None of these have been taken up so far, but any of them could be debated in committee in the next few days. The voucher bills are: HB 529, HB 562, HB 592, HB 765, SB 2209, SB 2280, SB 2325, SB 2595, SB 2596, SB 2639, and SB 2749. Click here to learn more about these bills, including who authored them and which are ALEC bills. 
  Watching for Voucher Legislation  
Posted 1/14/2014
We are monitoring bills as they are introduced, and among the things we are watching for is legislation that creates voucher programs of any kind, including tax credit scholarships, opportunity scholarships, or education savings accounts. Voucher programs divert taxpayer dollars from public schools to private schools; they are unacceptable and unconstitutional. Read more here
Mississippi Economic Council Endorses Common Core State Standards 
Posted 1/9/2014
The Mississippi Economic Council (MEC), Mississippi's state chamber of commerce, has thrown its support behind the Common Core State Standards. At MEC's Capital Day event, MEC president Blake Wilson reaffirmed the organization's endorsement of the higher college- and career-ready standards. The Parents' Campaign applauds MEC's call for full implementation of the Common Core. Read more here
 House Speaker Pushes Teacher Pay Raise 
posted 1/8/2014 
When House Speaker Philip Gunn spoke at the Mississippi Economic Council's Capital Day event, he couldn't have been more clear about his support for an across-the-board teacher pay raise. We at The Parents' Campaign applaud his commitment to our teachers. Read more here
 Legislators Arrive for 2014 Session - Let's Fund the MAEP 
posted 1/7/2014 
Legislators arrived in Jackson today to convene the 2014 Legislative Session. Among their agenda items will be funding for the MAEP. Revenue is back to pre-recession levels. It's time to get serious about funding a decent education for our kids. Read more here.
  2014 Legislature to Convene Tuesday, January 7
posted 1/6/2014
The 2014 Legislative Session will convene at noon on Tuesday, January 7. As always, we will keep our members in the know about legislation that affects public schools and how their legislators vote on pertinent education bills.  If you would like to receive email updates about your legislators' education votes and have not already signed up, click here to be added to our email list. For additional news updates,  like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter
Click here to see archived postings from 2013; click here for postings from 2006-2013.

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