Forest Thigpen, president of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, issued the following statement regarding the lawsuit filed on July 11 by the Southern Poverty Law Center that alleges the state's charter school law violates the state's constitution by enabling ad valorem taxes to cross district lines, leaving the district they were meant to support:
Charter schools are public schools, and since they charge no tuition, any rational person would conclude that they are "free" schools as referenced by the state constitution.
Parents are responsible for their children's education. It is immoral for the government to force parents to send their children to schools that do not meet their academic and related needs, especially when other public options are available, including charter schools.
Parents who have enough money to move to a better district or to send their children to private schools already have options. Charter schools, as demonstrated by the student population at the two schools that opened this year, primarily serve families who cannot afford either of those options.
Improving educational outcomes is one of the most important ways to lift children out of poverty, and charter schools offer that hope to parents who want a better future for their children. By pursuing this lawsuit, it appears as though the Southern Poverty Law Center wants to perpetuate, not alleviate, southern poverty.