2020 Legislative Priorities

An excellent early education experience for every child

  • Increased funding for Early Learning Collaboratives (ELC)
    • increase the per-student state match to $2,500 per student in a full-day program (currently $2,150) and $1,250 per student for a half-day program (currently $1,075)
    • increase appropriation to at least the statutorily recommended level of $16-million for FY2021 (currently $6.7-million)

An excellent teacher in every classroom

  • Teacher pay raise – codify a plan to raise teacher pay to the Southeastern average in no less than 3 years and to maintain this position at the Southeastern average
  • Elimination of the failed Teacher Recognition Program (move this $24-million to a pay raise for all teachers)
  • Teacher shortage – codify a plan to address Mississippi’s critical teacher shortage, which may include, but is not limited to:
    • tuition forgiveness for teachers who teach in a geographic shortage area for a minimum of 3 years
    • allowing retired teachers to return full- or part-time and draw their retirement allowance
    • a career ladder that allows teachers to stay in the classroom and be compensated at higher levels for additional leadership responsibilities
    • PRAXIS preparation assistance
    • additional licensure options
    • accountability for teacher preparation programs at Mississippi colleges and universities

An excellent public school for every Mississippi child

  • Increased Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) funding – codify a plan to reach full funding of the MAEP no later than the 2023-2024 school year (FY2024), with substantial increases each year
  • Provide funding sufficient to employ a literacy coach in every public school that has a grade of kindergarten through 3 and that has a reading proficiency rate less than 40% (~50% of 700-point schools)
  • Establish and fund a Community Schools pilot program for underperforming school districts that may include, but is not limited to:
    • integrated student supports, including medical, dental, and mental health care
    • expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities, such as tutoring and on-site extracurricular activities
    • family and community support/engagement, such as parenting classes, adult learning and career planning services, food pantries, and unified before/during/after school care
    • collaborative leadership and practices, including a Community Leadership Team representative of the public school population and comprised of educators, parents, health care providers, after school and pre-k providers, city/county officials, and local business and faith leaders

Public funds restricted to public schools (defeat of public school privatization measures)

  • End the diversion of public funds to unaccountable private schools. Amend the ESA voucher statute to require that:
    • private schools receiving state funds provide all special education services called for in a participating ESA student’s IEP
    • participating non-public schools administer state tests to all participating ESA students
    • participating non-public schools participate in the Mississippi Accountability Rating System
    • public schools providing special education services to ESA students be compensated by the participating non-public school at fair market value
  • Defeat all new voucher or tax credit scholarship proposals or expansions
  • Defeat measures that would alter the way school boards are elected. These are privatization measures, generally authored by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), that:
    • simplify the process by which privatizers take majority control of local school boards by having all seats elected simultaneously (not staggered), and
    • facilitate recruitment and funding of privatization candidates by out-of-state organizations and persons by aligning school board elections with presidential or gubernatorial elections, making it easy for out-of-state funders to identify when the elections are taking place