Archived 2017 "Recent News" Posts

Scheme Would Strike Funding Formula from Law

Posted 12/28/2017

Heads up - the 2018 Legislative Session starts January 2, and reputable sources tell us that the House leadership plans an early move to eliminate the school funding formula from law, erasing the Legislature's obligation to provide adequate funding for public schools. Read the details here, and get ready to hero up on behalf of Mississippi's public school children.

The Voucher Hoax in Your Mailbox

Posted 12/20/2017

Privatizers are sending out mailers intended to trick public school supporters into backing vouchers. Regardless of marketing "spin," voucher lobbyists can't hide the truth: vouchers send public taxpayer dollars to private schools that exclude children and avoid oversight. Read more.

Voucher Funds Go Unused

Posted 12/5/2017

More than a third of Mississippi's voucher funds are not being used. According to information gained via a recent public records request to MDE, of the $3-million that the Mississippi Legislature appropriated for private school vouchers last year, just over $1-million was not spent. In fact, so few of the students who were assigned special needs vouchers were able to use them that a second lottery was held to re-assign unused vouchers. Even after assigning those vouchers a second time, much of the funding sat idle. Read the details here.

Thankful for Public Education Supporters

Posted 11/21/2017

We're thankful this week for Mississippians who believe in public education as a common good for all of God's children! Public dollars should serve public interests (public schools), not individual choices (private voucher schools).


Good News on Accountability Front

Posted 11/16/2017

The process for assigning accountability ratings to lower elementary schools was the topic of a session at a recent MASA conference. Representatives from MDE met with educators and gathered feedback on problems related to lower elementary ratings. Read about that here, along with information about ratings challenges faced by attendance centers.

2017 School and District Ratings Released

Posted 10/19/2017

Mississippi students demonstrated higher achievement in math, reading, science, and history, along with improvements in ACT scores and graduation rates. These improvements resulted in higher ratings for many schools and districts. See your 2017 ratings here and read more here about the ratings process and glitches in the accountability system that grades our schools.

Lower Elementary School Ratings May Cause Heartburn

Posted 10/16/2017

When school ratings are released this Thursday, your lower elementary school's rating may cause heartburn. Find out why.

School Choice: Myth vs. Truth

Posted 9/23/2017

The Parents' Campaign Research and Education Fund has compiled a long list of school choice myths and truths. See all of the myths here, along with links to the research that dispels the myths pushed by privatizers.

school choice myth 1

Changes Pending Regarding Special Education Diploma Options

Posted 8/25/2017

Diploma options for children with special needs are changing; parents and teachers have an opportunity to weigh in on how those changes unfold. Public comments are due to MDE by 5:00 p.m. on August 31. Read more.

MS Board of Ed Action Commendable, Not Perfect; State Test Scores Released

Posted 8/17/2017

Today the Mississippi Board of Education voted on an amended recommendation to set baseline cut scores for 2017 using the same percentile rankings that were established last year and to assign each school and district two ratings (letter grades) - one using 2016 cut scores and one using the new 2017 cut scores. Schools and districts will be able to keep the higher of the two grades, for this year only.  Also today, the board reviewed test score results from schools and districts that showed students and teachers are making tremendous strides in achievement. Read more on all of the board's actions today.

School Ratings: Percentile Rankings & New Cut Scores - Again

Posted 8/15/2017

MDE's Commission on School Accreditation has recommended that new accountability cut scores be set and that percentile rankings be used again this year to determine school and school district ratings. Department of Education officials explained that the cut scores were set artificially high last year. Read more.

Ready to Learn

Posted 8/9/2017

Ready for the best year yet! Mississippi public school teachers are welcoming students back to class, excited and ready to "raise the bar!"  Read more.

Back to school msg

New Assessment, Ambitious Goals in State Education Plan

Posted 7/11/2017

Next Sunday, July 16, is the deadline to provide feedback on Mississippi's new plan for public education in our state: Mississippi Succeeds. The Parents' Campaign supports, generally, the ambitious goals for achievement laid out in the plan. Two issues of concern are the addition of a new, rigorous Algebra II assessment for students who take Algebra I in eighth grade and resources that are insufficient for students and teachers to achieve the ambitious goals in the plan. Read more, including The Parents' Campaign's public comments on the plan.

State Education Plan Introduced

Posted 6/22/2017

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) seeks feedback on its new plan for public schools in Mississippi. Each state is required to submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Education explaining how it will comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA, the replacement for No Child Left Behind). See more here, including links to MDE's plan and an online survey, and details on public meetings in Hattiesburg, Jackson, and Oxford.

Vouchers Aren't Working

Posted 6/17/2017

The authors of a new Education Week commentary - Student Vouchers Aren't Working - Here's Why - note a "disturbing disconnect" between the proven negative effects of vouchers on students' achievement and the continuing efforts by privatizers to convince states to expand vouchers to more children. Because voucher research is consistently showing "detrimental outcomes" for students, privatizers have shifted toward selling vouchers under the guise of "parent choice." Mississippians know better – it's the private academies that do the choosing, not the parents, and taxpayers are left holding the bill. The Mississippi Legislature isn't falling for it; our legislators killed all broad voucher bills in the 2017 session.

Can You Help?

Posted 5/4/2017

If you have a few hours to spare in the next couple of weeks, a public school near you could probably use your help. As we enter the last two weeks of state testing, a number of schools are in dire need of proctors and hall monitors. When state tests are administered, schools are required to have a proctor in every classroom and a monitor in every hall, in addition to classroom administrators (usually teachers). Districts need hundreds of volunteers to be in compliance. Please contact a public school near you today and offer to help proctor state tests. I especially encourage legislators and statewide elected officials to volunteer. At a time when educators and students are seeing expectations rise and funding diminished, volunteering a few hours of our time seems the least we could do.

News on School Funding

Posted 4/19/2017

Governor Bryant signed HB 1502, the K-12 funding bill, yesterday, an action that starts the clock ticking on teacher non-renewal notices. School districts must issue written notice by April 28 to any teacher whose contract will not be renewed for the 2017-2018 school year. See your district's funding for 2017-2018, as provided for by HB 1502. Read more here about fair funding and how Mississippi's school funding measures up to that of neighboring states and the U.S. average.

Your School District's Funding

Posted 4/11/2017

How much is the Mississippi Legislature willing to invest in your child's education? You can see how much state funding your school district will receive for the 2017-2018 school year, how much it is underfunded according to our state law, and how your schools might be funded if they were located in another state by clicking here.

Good Job! Session Ends, Vouchers Die

Posted 3/29/2017

The 2017 Legislative Session is in the books; the House and Senate adjourned sine die this afternoon, having defeated all measures that would have sent public school dollars to private academies. See the status of all bills we followed in this session. Read more about final legislative action on vouchers and the K-12 budget.

Legislature Passes School Funding Bill

Posted 3/27/2017

The school funding bill for 2017-2018 was passed tonight by the House and Senate. It funds the MAEP $40-million below what was appropriated for public schools this time last year. Read more.

Still No K-12 Budget

Posted 3/26/2017  7:55 p.m.

When the House and Senate adjourned for the evening on Sunday, there was still no agreement on the K-12 budget for the 2017-2018 school year. Conferees signed a "dummy" bill with $0 as the amount appropriated in order to meet a Saturday night deadline for filing initial conference reports. On Sunday, legislators in both chambers voted to recommit the report for further work. As of 7:55 p.m. on Sunday, no additional conference report had been filed.

Saturday evening, officials reported that they had agreed to a budget that funded the MAEP at $40-million below what was appropriated for the current school year ($20-million below what schools were left with this year after two rounds of budget cuts) and $233-million below what state law says is adequate for students to master the standards required of them for graduation and for schools to meet basic accreditation requirements. Sunday afternoon, Mississippi Today reporter Kate Royals tweeted that, according to Education Chairman John Moore, no deal on the K-12 budget had been reached.

MAEP Cut by $8.6M in Current Year Budget Reductions

Posted 3/25/2017

Yesterday, Governor Bryant was forced to make another round of FY 2017 budget cuts due to plummeting state revenue. The MAEP was cut by another $8.6-million and the General Education budget was cut by $738,904. These cuts affect the current school year, 2016-2017. See spreadsheet listing cuts by agency, courtesy of Mississippi Today. The MAEP previously was cut by $11.2-million in February.

Misinformation at Play in Voucher Debate, Budget Woes Worsen

Posted 3/24/2017

In voucher debate earlier in the session, legislators were told that the DeSoto County School District had no program to serve students with dyslexia. The claim was made that students need to be given Mississippi tax dollars to pay for private school tuition across the state line in Memphis. As a matter of fact, the district has a dyslexia program overseen by four dyslexia therapists and including 111 trained teachers. The voucher bill, HB 1046, could come up for a vote at any time in the next several days. In today's news, legislators learned they will have to make deeper than anticipated cuts to state services for the coming year. Read more.

MAEP and Vouchers - Keep Calling!

Posted 3/22/2017

 The public remains in the dark on the MAEP rewrite. Meanwhile, deadlines loom for the K-12 funding bill and the voucher bill. Read more.

Secret MAEP Revamp to be Unveiled?

Posted 3/20/2017

Sources in the House and Senate say that school funding "numbers" in the MAEP revamp may be unveiled as early as tomorrow (Tuesday) to "select" legislators. Ask your legislators to vote NO on any proposal that hasn't been fully vetted in open public hearings. See more here, including our list of red flags to watch for in this process.


Posted 3/17/2017

What a day! Hundreds of Mississippi parents, students, and educators crowded into the Capitol today to rally in support of public schools. Congratulations to rally organizers - and thank you - for a fantastic event! And kudos to all those who took time from your spring break vacation to travel to Jackson to stand up for our children! Read more about the day.

Call, Text, Email Legislators on RALLY DAY!

Posted 3/17/2017

Couldn't make it to the education funding rally at the Capitol today? Don't worry, you can still be there in spirit. Wherever you are right now, pick up your phone and call, text, and email your legislators! Your message: "I'm concerned about any changes to the education funding law. I want to know what the plan is and I want to have input." Read more.

See You Tomorrow

Posted 3/16/2017

Tomorrow is RALLY DAY! We hope you'll come. This rally is a chance to make it crystal clear to our Legislature that public education is Mississippi's #1 priority and that the way it is funded can make or break our children's future. Read more.

Ready to rally

MAEP and a Rally at the Capitol

Posted 3/13/2017

 Will we see you Thursday, March 16, at the rally for public education funding? The fun starts at 10:30 a.m. in the 2nd floor rotunda of the State Capitol. This afternoon, the Senate amended the education funding bill for 2017-2018 to replace the MAEP funding that was omitted in the earlier House version of the bill. HB 1502 now provides roughly the same amount of funding for the next school year as schools received this year. But flat funding, combined with ever rising operating costs, still leaves school districts in a budget hole. Read more.

Senate Passes Voucher Bill, School Funding Rally Set for March 16

Posted 3/8/2017

The Senate passed HB 1046, the voucher bill, this evening on a vote of 30-19. See your senator's vote. The bill was amended to include a reverse repealer, which means it will go to conference. Senators were told that this bill is not a voucher bill. That, of course, is false. Any bill that sends public, taxpayer funds to pay tuition at a private school is a voucher. Please ask your legislators to vote NO when the bill comes back from conference. 

Frustrated with the silence and secrecy regarding the MAEP rewrite, citizens now are organizing a March 16 rally in support of public school funding. Read more.

Still No Action on Vouchers, Deadline Tomorrow

Posted 3/7/2017

The voucher bill, HB 1046, has still not come up for a vote in the Senate, and tomorrow is the deadline for floor action on this and other general bills. Please ask everyone you know to call their senators one more time with the message: Vote NO on HB 1046Find contact information for senators here. You can leave a message at the Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770. Share the same message with Lt. Governor Reeves: 601.359.3200. We will post the vote for HB 1046 on this page and on our Ed Report Facebook pages if it is taken up tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Vouchers Still a Threat - Keep Calling!

Posted 3/3/2017

 No matter how many times you've already called your senator about HB 1046, please call again! The Senate has adjourned for the weekend without taking the bill up for a vote. They will reconvene on Monday at 4 p.m.; midnight Wednesday is the deadline for action on this bill. Read more.

Need More Calls on Vouchers

Posted 3/2/2017

The voucher bill, HB 1046, has not yet come up for a vote in the Senate. Please ask everyone you know to call their senators with the message: Vote NO on HB 1046! Find contact information for senators. Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770. Share the same message with Lt. Governor Reeves: 601.359.3200. The deadline for passage of this bill is next Wednesday, and privatization operatives are lobbying hard to get it passed. Please ask your senator to stand with us in support of public schools.

Voucher Bill Awaits Action on Senate Calendar - Keep Calling!

Posted 3/1/2017

The Senate took no action today on the voucher bill, House Bill 1046, so the bill remains on the Senate calendar and could come up for a vote any time between now and next Wednesday's deadline. Many thanks to those who have contacted your senators; please stay in touch with them throughout this week. They are getting enormous pressure from privatization forces to support this voucher bill. Ask your friends and family to call, too.  And give us a call or shoot us an email or text message to let us know what feedback you are getting. Find legislators' contact information here.

RED ALERT: Voucher Bill Headed to Senate Floor - Please Call Senators!

Posted 2/28/2017

 HB 1046 has passed the Senate Appropriations Committee and is headed to the floor. A strike-all amendment has turned the bill into a dangerous voucher bill that threatens local school district funding and sends Mississippi tax dollars out of state to unaccountable private schools. Read more here.

RED ALERT: Calls Needed Immediately!

Posted 2/27/2017

House Bill 1046 (strike-all amendment) could be the most alarming legislation we've seen this year. Find out why, then call senators and ask for a  vote of NO on HB 1046.

What Does HB 1046 Actually Do?

Posted 2/24/2017

Misinformation is circulating about HB 1046. Here are four key facts about this bill (as passed by the Senate Education Committee on 2/23/2017).

Key Points on HB 1046

RED ALERT: Vouchers Resurrected

Posted 2/23/2017

The Senate Education Committee this morning passed an amended bill that would send public dollars to private schools throughout Mississippi, as well as out-of-state private schools. Ask senators to vote NO on voucher bill HB 1046. Find phone numbers for senators in your school district. Read more here.

Vouchers Die on Deadline Day; Focus Now on MAEP Rewrite

Posted 2/22/2017

Three cheers for the Mississippi Legislature! Due to lack of support, no voucher bill was ever brought up for a vote. Now our focus returns to the MAEP rewrite, a process that should include ample time for a full public vetting. Read more.

More good news for public ed

No Action on Vouchers Today; Governor Makes More Mid-year Budget Cuts

Posted 2/21/2017

 Neither the House nor the Senate took up voucher bills in committee today; the deadline is midnight tomorrow. In other news, Governor Bryant was forced to make more mid-year budget cuts. This time the MAEP is included. Read more.

Vouchers in House & Senate - Please Keep Calling!

Posted 2/20/2017

Voucher bills are looming in both chambers. One voucher bill has been referred to the House Ways & Means committee, and three await action in the Senate Finance committee. All have a Wednesday deadline for floor votes. Read more here.

Curious Turn on MAEP, More Vouchers to Fight

Posted 2/15/2017

 After Speaker Gunn announced yesterday that legislators would delay the school funding appropriation until the MAEP rewrite is done, the House today passed a K-12 appropriation bill that omits MAEP funding to school districts completely. Read more about this curious turn of events and see our alert on a new round of voucher bills.

Tax Credit Sch Bills 1

A Win for Our Children!

Posted 2/9/2017

 Good news for public ed

Thank you! You did amazing work for our kids, and your legislators sided with you. Read more here.

House, Senate Adjourned; Bills Remain on Calendars

Posted 2/8/2017

Thursday, February 9, is the deadline for passage of bills currently on House and Senate calendars. The bills we are watching closely still have not come up for votes and both chambers have adjourned for the day. Continue to contact legislators to share your concerns on the following bills:

Public Ed in Jeopardy

MAEP Revamp Bills Coming; Legislators, Public Kept in Dark

Posted 2/7/2017

 The Mississippi Business Journal reports that legislators will be asked in the next two days to vote on bills that strike the MAEP from state law and replace it with a new school funding mechanism. The proposal has not been made public, nor have legislators had a chance to review it. Read more.

Harmful Education Bills Await Votes

Posted 2/6/2017

Thursday, February 9, is the deadline for first-round action on the bills we are watching this week in the House and Senate. Keep those calls to legislators going, and get details here on bills that could harm public schools.

Broad Voucher Bill on House Calendar

Posted 2/2/2017

A voucher bill championed by privatization lobbyists is on the House calendar awaiting a vote. Ask your representative to vote no on HB 1036. Read about the possible consequences of this bill.

Status of MAEP Dummy Bills

Posted 2/1/2017

HB 1294, the MAEP dummy bill, was skipped today as the House began working through its calendar of bills. SB 2607, the Senate's MAEP dummy bill, also was skipped on the Senate calendar. The House will reconvene at 9 a.m. Thursday and the Senate at 10 a.m. Both dummy bills face a February 9 deadline for passage.

RED ALERT: "Dummy" MAEP Revamp & Other Dangerous Bills Headed for Floor Votes

Posted 1/31/2017

House and Senate committees advanced a number of bills detrimental to public schools, including two "dummy" bills that will be used to change the way public schools are funded. Read more.

RED ALERT: Plan Could Devastate Public Schools

Posted 1/29/2017

Lt. Governor Reeves has told the Associated Press that he believes a new school funding law should not include a formula to keep pace with inflation. Such a plan would set in law a devastating downward spiral for public school funding. Read more on our Facebook page.

RED ALERT: Please Call Legislators

Posted 1/27/2017

The Senate Education Committee is expected to vote on that chamber's version of an MAEP rewrite on Tuesday (deadline day). The House Appropriations Committee may vote on a "dummy" bill that could be amended with MAEP changes. Both are troublesome and need your urgent attention. Read more.

Less State Funding for Mississippi Schools?

Posted 1/23/2017

The bottom line on EdBuild's proposal appears to be less state funding for public schools than is required currently by the MAEP. Two areas of great concern are elimination of the formula and shifting the burden from the state to the local level (raising local taxes). Read more.

EdBuild Recommends Changes to MAEP

Posted 1/16/2017

EdBuild, the consulting firm hired by the leadership to recommend changes to the school funding formula, presented its report to a packed house at the Capitol this afternoon. Read more and see EdBuild's full recommendations

Watch EdBuild Meeting via Livestream

Posted 1/16/2017

If you are not attending in person, you can view today's EdBuild meeting via livestream at 2 p.m. on Mississippi Today's Facebook page:

EdBuild to Present Recommendations January 16

Posted 1/12/2017

EdBuild will present recommendations to legislators on Monday, January 16, at 2 p.m. in Room 216 of the State Capitol. The meeting will be open to the public. Legislators are going home today for the weekend, so this is a great time to ask them these questions: Do you promise to vote no on any changes to the school funding law until I and other constituents have had a chance to review and weigh in on them? Do you promise to vote against any proposal that results in a lower level of funding than is now required by state law?

An ANTI-Public Education Agenda

Posted 1/4/2017

Yesterday, we defined for you what a PRO-public education agenda looks like. Today, we show you what an ANTI-public education agenda might entail. Read more.

A PRO-Public Education Agenda

Posted 1/3/2017

Today, legislators gathered in Jackson to convene the 2017 Legislative Session. How will you know if your legislators are voting to support strong public schools? We'll make it easy, cutting through the spin and telling the truth about the impact of legislation on your school and your child. Read details here on what a PRO-public education agenda looks like.

Click here to see archived posts from 2016; click here for postings from 2006-2015.