There have been plenty of clues that the voucher bill being pushed in the Mississippi Legislature is not really about helping children with special needs (as it has been framed). One telling moment was when those pushing the vouchers refused to amend the bill to require that the voucher schools actually be capable of serving children with special needs. That’s right, this bill that is supposedly all about “helping children with special needs” is written specifically to prevent the private voucher schools from being required to meet any special needs or provide any accommodations.
Yesterday, they tipped their hand again when a tweet from the Florida lobbyists that were in our state last year pushing virtual and for-profit charter schools revealed that they are behind this voucher bill, too. That revelation explains why Sen. Nancy Collins, who is handling the bill in the Senate, clarified that the vouchers can be taken out of state – to Memphis, for example – where they can be used at a private academy, a for-profit school, etc. That’s right, my tax dollars and yours can be used to pay tuition at a private academy in another state.
A national group also reported yesterday that this same bill is being pushed in numerous state legislatures across the country – and the Florida lobbying group is backing them, too. This isn’t about children with special needs; it isn’t even about Mississippi children. It’s a national movement to privatize public education and allow for-profits to cash in on the state funding that is intended to educate our kids. Tell your legislators to vote NO on HB 765!