Raid on education
The raid on the public education treasury is well under way in the Mississippi Legislature.
A subcommittee of the House Education Committee has approved a bill that would permit charter schools throughout the state, taking money away from public schools.
The bill also would allow state tax money to be diverted to for-profit online companies across the country that offer a high school education by computer, sometimes under the guise of home schooling.
The bill would set up a new board to approve charter schools and allow all 152 school districts to approve their own charter schools. It also would permit the state Department of Education to convert existing schools to charters. Charter schools would be eligible for state construction money, too, if any became available.
The bill under consideration in the House is far more onerous than one already approved by the full Senate that would at least not permit these online schools to get tax money.
Charter schools operate with tax money, often under less stringent rules than required in public schools, and compete directly with the public schools.
The state has failed to provide the level of funding mandated in state law for its public schools. Diluting the inadequate resources even more would be a serious blow to our quality public schools in places like New Albany and Union County.
We would hope our state representative, Margaret Ellis Rogers, would take an active role in trying to derail the charter schools bills.
Supporters of public schools need to let Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and the Republican-controlled legislature know that Mississippians want our public schools strengthened, not weakened.
These proposals to split the education money many more ways defy common sense. Our children deserve better from our politicians.
About Chris Elkins
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