Charter schools highlight Republican divide

JACKSON — The fact that it is questionable whether charter school legislation will pass this year illustrates the growing number of legislative Republicans from pro education areas that might differ from their leadership on education issues.

The Republican leadership of the House and Senate, as well as Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, have voiced strong support for charter school legislation. Yet Republicans from DeSoto County, a strong pro pubic education county, as well as other Republicans in similar counties, are blocking the proposal in the House Education Committee.

Why?

Because education proponents in their districts do not believe charter schools are good for public education.

Charter schools might be or might not be good for public education. That is not the issue.

The issue is that people in their districts perceive charter schools not to be good for public education. And legislators are listening to those people more than the leadership on this issue.

But the leadership is working hard to change hearts and minds. And in the legislative process, the leadership can be persuasive.