Today was the deadline for committees to act on bills that originated in the opposite chamber. The teacher pay raise (SB 2001) and community schools (HB 1139) fell victim to the economic downturn. The Early Learning Collaboratives bill (SB 2286) has had a reverse repealer added, ensuring that legislators will give it another look as they navigate significant budget challenges.
We need your help with SB 2594, the ESA voucher bill. In its current form, the bill takes important steps to limit this horribly flawed voucher program that takes scarce tax dollars away from public schools to pay tuition at private schools. SB 2594 adds accountability measures to the program, eliminates online and out-of-state schools from eligibility, and requires that the voucher schools provide special education services for participating students. We are hearing that there is a move afoot to amend the bill to retain the online and out-of-state schools. The Parents’ Campaign opposes any such amendment.
Please ask representatives to VOTE NO on any amendments that broaden this bill or reduce accountability.
The Parents’ Campaign has no position on SB 2594 in its current form.
Call the Capitol switchboard: 601.359.3770 or find complete contact information for legislators here.
SB 2594 DOES NOT prohibit ESA students from participating in online or distance learning. Both brick and mortar public and voucher schools can utilize blended distance learning, a mix of traditional teaching and online courses that provides teaching supports while learning at home. This blended distance learning is a far cry from the online-only schools prohibited in SB 2594. Research has shown consistently that online-only schools lack accountability and perform so poorly that some have been deemed dangerous for children. In fact, a study out of Stanford University found that students in online-only schools:
- lost 180 days worth of learning in math (a full school year)
- lost 72 days worth of learning in reading
Legislators are also being pressured to use Mississippians’ hard-earned tax dollars to pay tuition at other states’ private schools. This is an absurd abuse of our tax dollars. In every area in which voucher dollars are taken across state lines, there are A-rated public schools and multiple private school options.
You can find more information about these bills on our web site’s bill tracker.
Though the teacher pay raise did not survive today’s deadline, legislative leadership has said a pay raise will remain a priority in each year of this administration.
Tomorrow morning, the House and Senate will begin working in earnest toward a floor vote deadline of June 17. Please call your representative about the voucher bill, and ask your friends to call, too. We promise to let you know what we’re hearing at the Capitol. Together, we’ve got this!