Charter Schools Advance In Mississippi Senate | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Charter Schools Advance In Mississippi Senate

The Senate Education Committee just approved a bill that would allow privately operated charter schools to open in Mississippi starting in 2011. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Michael Watson, R-Pascagoula, and has many Republican co-authors. Opposition came primarily from Sens. David Jordan, D-Greenwood, and Alice Harden, D-Jackson, who were both concerned that charters would draw funds and students from regular public schools that have never been properly funded. Jordan also worried that charters could lead to re-segregation. Watson tried to assure him that, under his bill, charter schools would use a lottery system for admissions, but Jordan seemed unconvinced.

There are at least three charter-school bills on the House side, but House Education Committee Chairman Cecil Brown, D-Jackson, said today that he would probably wait to consider the Senate bill, rather than pass a different version.

Previous Comments

ID
155588
Comment

mixed feelings on this my kids attended a charter school in Indiana that was awesome and was founded by the African American community in response to being underserved. I hate to give this news flash to Mr. Jordan I can't speak for any other district but you might as well say Jackson Public Schools are already segregated my children attend two different schools there is only 1 white girl in one school and I think 3 white kids in the other if I can easily count the non black children we aren't that far from segregation.

Author
multiculturegirl
Date
2010-01-28T20:44:29-06:00
ID
155641
Comment

multiculture you took the words right out of my mouth about segregated schools. I can name ten schools from around the city and state that are 100 percent segregated now.

Author
dd39203
Date
2010-01-30T14:58:16-06:00
ID
155642
Comment

Being a charter school does not make a school inherently better. It is the freedom from paperwork and restrictions of a regular school district which seems to be the big advantage of charter schools. With that in mind, why bother with the controversy and lack of oversight of charter schools: why not just give more leeway and control to great school managers (principals) and less strings attached to funding? There are plenty of things that charter schools are 'allowed' to do that would just be common sense reforms for schools. Having a school district for some purposes (bulk buying power, consolidated administrative functions, recruiting reach, etc) still makes sense, just leave the job of education and day to day management down to teachers and principals. And I hate to come out against a lottery system 'desegregation' of schools, but it just makes sense that a school draw students from nearby. Its cheap, efficient and fairly non-controversial, i thought.

Author
jrt
Date
2010-01-31T11:28:56-06:00
ID
155652
Comment

For all of the reforms lotteries, and innovations a charter school would do, the major thing that separates them from general public schools is compulsory attendance. The charter school institutes reforms such as mandatory study hall and parental involvement, and if the students don't do it, they're out. If a general public school could kick students out for not studying, then heck they would all be star schools. I agree with jrt, just adjust the rules and strings attached to funding for general public schools and leave the charters for the private schools/private market.

Author
Renaldo Bryant
Date
2010-02-01T11:02:12-06:00
ID
155655
Comment

The main advantage of a charter school is choice for parents who are involved in their children's education and accountability for the school to meet their expectations. If your child is forced to attend a failing school because of geography you have no choice except to pay for them attend a private school or move to a better district. It's widely accepted that all kids are not the same and learn in different ways. So, why then would a cookie cutter type approach to education be expected to work? Choice in public education would let many different types of schools exist to serve the needs of the many different types of students. A voucher system to allow parents to use at least some of the over $7200.00 that is spent each year per student for their choice of school would be the fairest way to fund public education but allowing charter schools is a good first step in promoting choice and accountability in public education.

Author
WMartin
Date
2010-02-01T11:49:16-06:00
ID
155717
Comment

In many cases, schools become failing schools because parents choose to pull their children out. If you "choose" to become active in the school and hold the adminstrators accountable, then you are contributing to the school's continued success. If we pull all the bright, smart kids from our public schools and send them to charter schools, then what have we accomplished? Diverse student body, good teachers, qualifed adminstrators, caring community, and involved parents make for a successful school.

Author
lanier77
Date
2010-02-03T10:35:53-06:00
ID
155718
Comment

but if that's your arguement against charters than why have APAC and IB they take the best kids out of neighborhood schools and concentrate them in one place often taking their highly involved parents with them? I have three gifted students and I have chose not to enroll them in schools other than our neighborhood school but I often wonder if its truly in their best interest my sons schools open doors program is inadequate and JPS knows and does nothing because they have very few gifted students and a high level of failing students, my daughter has no arts education and that is her area of talent and my other daughter, is in a school that while I love her administrators and teachers shes not challenged. My experience with charter schools is that depending on the schools design they may or may not pull the best students the school my children attended actually attracted many children who had been chronically suspended and under serviced by our local school system not the A students even though many were and it was designed to be that way. Charter school doesn't have to mean elite school.

Author
multiculturegirl
Date
2010-02-03T10:48:16-06:00
ID
155719
Comment

Wmartin if we're moving to vouchers (which I am not in favor of) are you also in favor of giving homeschoolers a tax credit or a check for some of the money that would be spent on their child in public ed because I homeschool one daughter and I'm saving JPS plenty of money. Blackwatch I need to read MS's charter proposal because in Indiana their was no such provision were charters could just kick children out for things like that once they accepted them they had to keep them unless they where expelled just like other schools and they had to keep their documentation just like any district would. I know my kids not only went there I worked there. They were exempt from teachers unions.

Author
multiculturegirl
Date
2010-02-03T10:57:10-06:00
ID
155733
Comment

Multiculturegirl, Charter schools are supposed to be sites of innovation. Yet, the charter schools that are successful utilize methods that are already known to work, such as more time on task, smaller class size, and increased parental involvement. They get a higher incidence of these situations because they either require them upon admission (such as with the KIPP program that state legislators in the delta are so crazy about) or self select from those students and families in the district who can or are willing actually meet those requirements. In both cases, general public schools can't ensure such contexts for learning without breaking laws, statutes, union contracts and/or board policies. So, in essesnce, even when charters are successful in educating their students, their models aren't really reproducable in the general ed setting. This why former State Supt. Dr. Bounds was against them. Individual families love them because they can really be good for the few kids that get to go. But, since they do take money from the existing public schools, the benefits they provide aren't necessarily worth the collective costs (taking, say 10 students, from the public school doesn't reduce the overall cost of running the school, but does reduce the funding for the school). Heck, there are charters all over the country, yet we continue to see the same issues with education in the general public schools (check the DC school system, where charters were widespread and supported). How have charters helped those situations?

Author
Renaldo Bryant
Date
2010-02-03T14:32:32-06:00
ID
155736
Comment

mcg, Yes, if indeed we did have a voucher system, I would be in favor of letting home schoolers use their voucher for their supplies, books or whatever they need for educating their children, or for donating it to their local school so their children could play on the sports teams or participate in the other extra curricular activities that school offered. The tax money earmarked for public education should be used for education of the communities children where ever that education takes place. Not for ensuring jobs for the members of the various teacher's unions. lanier77 said ...If we pull all the bright, smart kids from our public schools and send them to charter schools, then what have we accomplished? We would have accomplished giving those under-performing students more attention from their teachers and administrators. Which they need.

Author
WMartin
Date
2010-02-03T14:43:25-06:00
ID
155740
Comment

I'll echo Blackwatch's points about charter school practices in general ed settings. Charter schools were created to inform the public system, but this is not how they are used. D.C. is a prime example of this as well as New Orleans. How many charter schools exists side by side and successfully educate the couple of hundred of students in each one, yet how do they work in tandem with the public system? There are still thousands of kids who don't get the best practices of a charter school environment. Isn't that the point? To affect all children rather than just the portion?

Author
nyoung
Date
2010-02-03T17:16:51-06:00
ID
155752
Comment

WMartin, my point exactly. You met the needs of those bright smart, gifted students. BUT What about the students who remained, and my experience has found that many of those students are underachievers and potentially gifted and brillant - but have to struggle in negative environments and therefore often don't do well in school. When you move the brightest students the resources often follow those students, and you end up underserving certain schools.

Author
lanier77
Date
2010-02-04T13:36:48-06:00
ID
155761
Comment

I don't really get your logic, lanier77. So you are saying that if we can't save them all we shouldn't save any? Wouldn't the under performing students that could be possibly left behind at the regular public schools benefit from the smaller class sizes and more individual attention? Besides, the educational process that works for one kid might not work for another. The public school one size fits all approach doesn't work for a lot of kids. Isn't the answer to that problem more options and not less? Simply giving a failing school system more money without any accountability doesn't seem to be working. Private schools are already doing a better job at half the price.

Author
WMartin
Date
2010-02-04T16:26:09-06:00

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