Charter Schools Pass Senate Committee

The authorizing board a new charter-school bill would establish could approve proposed charter schools in C, D and F districts without the say-so of local public school boards.

The authorizing board a new charter-school bill would establish could approve proposed charter schools in C, D and F districts without the say-so of local public school boards. Photo by Courtesy Flickr/flickeringbrad

A highly anticipated charter-school bill is on its way to the Senate floor. At an early morning meeting of the Senate Education Committee today, members agreed by voice vote to send the measure to the full Senate for consideration with a few modifications.

The bill allows for the establishment of charter schools—privately run schools that receive public funding for the children who attend—across the state.

However, school boards in school districts rated A or B must approve a charter school's application. The authorizing board the bill would establish could approve proposed charter schools in C, D and F districts without the say-so of local public school boards.

Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, offered an amendment to strip virtual schools out of the bill. As proposed, the legislation did allow up to three online charter schools to operate in Mississippi.

Blount told the Jackson Free Press he wanted to amend the bill because he does not believe that virtual charter schools, which allow kids to log on to a computer and complete coursework without the supervision of a teacher, are effective.

Legislative Republicans have said they want charter-school legislation to pass quickly. The Senate could vote on the charter bill as early as tomorrow.

Democrats also decried proposed changes to the Public Employee Retirement System, PERS. Despite the fact that no PERS bill has been filed, House Minority Leader Bobby Moak distributed a leaflet--which he said the "detail fairy" provided--that outlines proposed changes.

According to the analysis Moak provided reporters, the bill changes the number of PERS board members from 10 to 17 and adds more appointees from the governor and lieutenant governor's offices. In addition, the so-called 13th check—a cost-of-living adjustment—would be frozen for three years and tied to the Consumer Price Index.

"We do not need to change anything about the retirement system," said Rep. Mary Coleman, D-Jackson, indicating that state employees have not received raises in six years.

Sen. Derrick Simmons, D-Greenville, said he's worried about the effects of making what he considers unnecessary changes to PERS because in his Delta district, government agencies are among the largest employers.

"You can't change the rules in the middle of the game," Simmons said.

Comments

justjess 1 year, 3 months ago

This is a sad day for parents who send their children to public schools. Again I say, if our schools are failing, let's fix the problem(s). To date, there has not been a ligitamate argument for giving private owned and operated schools our public dollars.

Where is the Black Caucus on this issue? This question seems relevant based on the fact that so many children in our public schools are African-American: These communities will be devastated!

It is interesting to read that Rep. Mary Coleman, an African-American Democrat, spoke to the issue of PERS: Just remember that these folks (House & Senate) receive retirement from PERS.

Where is public outrage?

0

darryl 1 year, 3 months ago

It's been a sad day for years for parents who send their children to public schools. Failing districts, like JPS, have consistently demonstrated the inability to "fix the problem(s)" despite ever increasing amounts of money being thrown down the hole. To date, there has not been a ligitamate argument for giving private owned and operated schools our public dollars. Well, there's one. And as for PERS, for our legislators to receive life-long benefits for as few as two years of service is a travesty that needs to end.

0

donnaladd 1 year, 3 months ago

It's been a sad day for years for parents who send their children to public schools. Failing districts, like JPS, have consistently demonstrated the inability to "fix the problem(s)" despite ever increasing amounts of money being thrown down the hole.

Darryl, are you positive you factchecked everything in this statement before posting?

0

darryl 1 year, 3 months ago

Donna, did you ask justjess if he/she factchecks her posts?

0

donnaladd 1 year, 3 months ago

No, Darryl, because I don't see factual errors in her, but I do in yours.

0

darryl 1 year, 3 months ago

No, Donna, you just like her opinion better than mine. That's okay with me!

0

donnaladd 1 year, 3 months ago

No, Darryl, hers is clearly straight opinion with few actual facts stated. You state several facts:

  1. JPS is "failing."
  2. JPS, have consistently demonstrated the inability to "fix the problem(s)"
  3. More money been thrown down the hole

What are your sources on all of that information?

1

darryl 1 year, 3 months ago

I stand corrected O'exalted JFP leader. According to the last report care of the Mississippi Department of Education, JPS only graded as a D. And while JPS spends ~$1,000 more per student than the state average its average ACT scores are a full point below state average. I guess that over the last 20 years, increasingly more JPS schools than previous are grading out as D/F. Haven't had time to sift through all of the charts to verify but as I graduated from JPS, I believe it to be accurate.

0

donnaladd 1 year, 3 months ago

Why do you think that is, Darryl?

0

darryl 1 year, 3 months ago

Personally, I believe the reason behind it to be a decrease in the quality of the individuals we are asking our schools to educate. That's a generalization, of course. I believe more kids are going to school unprepared to work and strive. I believe kids attending school suffer from a lack of respect for themselves and others. I believe that kids, especially in JPS, see no reason to better themselves as the government will provide for them.

And I believe JPS is bloated from the middle up.

0

donnaladd 1 year, 3 months ago

You're saying the children themselves are inferior somehow, darryl?!

And when we're talking elementary school kids, could you explain your perceived "difference" in quality of children in JFP and those in , say, Madison. And do you really believe that 6-year-olds "see no reason to better themselves as the government will provide for them"?

0

darryl 1 year, 3 months ago

An increase in the number of children coming from parents with poor parenting skills and broken homes has led to this downward spiral, yes. And to compare JPS with its surrounding districts, the main differences would be in demographics, economics and education/employment. Is this a brain-drain or a consequence of the "white flight" that plagues Jackson, who knows. But your six year-old just entering school is likely oblivious to his future. Until he/she advances far enough in school to require assistance with their school work and can't get it at home. Success at school doesn't equate to survival, as Mamma and Granny keep getting checks for not working. Might as well start taking the easy way out and learn to steal and deal.

Now, that's a pretty narrow and specific instance that I believe is not rare. The result overall is an education system that is so hamstrung and top-heavy, having to pander to this lowest common denominator that those children wishing to succeed in school are not challenged. But, "money fixes everything" so why don't we inject more money, hire more "assistants" and commission more studies to identify the problem...

Personally, I think we need two separate school systems, beginning at around the sixth or seventh grade. One system is for those intellectually suited for college. The other system is for those who are not. That system would push the basics and develop a suitable trade.

0

Sign in to comment