Today, the House reconsidered the motion to invite conference on HB 890 and passed it on a 61-56 vote. The bill will now go to conference. House Education Chairman John Moore assured members of that chamber that the conference report would not include charter school language.
HB 890, as it passed the Senate, includes:
· Charter school language that:
o Allows charters in C, D, and F districts after June of 2016 – only A and B districts would have veto authority
o Allows for-profits to manage charter schools
o Allows students from any school district to cross district lines to attend a charter school
· An unfunded mandate on literacy with no reading coaches, no training for teachers and no funding, just new reporting requirements and retention of children without improving instruction
· A phased-in approach to the 21 ACT and 3.0 GPA requirement for entry into the schools of education
MAEP Funding in Jeopardy
It is possible that a change to the MAEP formula will be proposed that would reduce the amount of funding that is considered “adequate” and/or require districts to implement the literacy initiative using existing MAEP funds. Asking districts to do more with the same funding is unreasonable at best, particularly given that schools are already dreadfully underfunded.
When legislators campaigned for election, they pledged to do all they could to close the gap between the current, inadequate level of funding and what state law says is sufficient for a “C” level school. They haven’t come close.
The current proposals for next year’s budget would leave schools underfunded by almost $300-million. Now, lawmakers may impose a literacy initiative that adds work for teachers and schools with no additional funding (and no reading coaches or training to improve reading instruction). That is a recipe for failure. Mississippi children deserve better.
Mark my word, if the Legislature passes a literacy initiative without providing schools the resources needed to implement it, those same legislators will be quick to blame schools when the plan doesn’t yield results. Read more.
Bills are in Conference
Your legislators are your connection to the conferees assigned to education bills. Their job is to stay on top of what is happening in conference regarding legislation that affects your school district. Please check in with them often.