Archived "Recent News" Posts from 2006-2008

 Mississippi Has Lost a Great Champion of Public Education

Mississippi lost a great advocate of public education with the death of former State Senator and Senate Education Chairman Grey Ferris, who died at his home in Vicksburg on Friday, June 13.  Grey’s contributions to our state’s education system were many and varied, but his crowning achievement was as a lead author of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), the education funding legislation intended to ensure every Mississippi child an adequate education.  Grey was passionate about providing all children a path to a bright future.  When The Parents’ Campaign was established to push for full funding of the MAEP and improved public education, he was an enthusiastic supporter.  Click here to read more about this remarkable man. 

Stories of Children Lacking Early Learning Opportunities
Parents, teachers and administrators have sent us stories of children who arrived inkindergartenand first grade with skills well below those of their peers.  Click on the links below to read about the challenges that some Mississippi children face due to the lack of early learning or Pre-K opportunities.  

Read the Stories:
Week One Stories

Week Two Stories

If you have stories to share, please email them to: . 

In 2007, The Parents' Campaign collected stories of children who were at risk of failure in school.  Click here to read those stories.

 Governor Signs SB 2149
Governor Haley Barbour has signed Senate Bill 2149, which increases accountability from superintendents across the state. The
new law mandates the removal of superintendents, both elected and appointed, from school districts designated as underperforming by the State Department of Education for at least two consecutive years.  Elected school superintendents removed from office will be prohibited from seeking re-election for one full term under the legislation. 

  Yesterday, Governor Barbour said, “Along with providing record funding increases for K-12 education, we must also demand improved accountability in the state’s educational system.  This bill ensures that the leaders of our school districts are held accountable for their performance in making sure our children are receiving the best education possible. I’m delighted to sign into law this new accountability measure that will serve as an important tool in improving public education.”

 Parents Have a Role in MCT2 Success
This week student achievement in Mississippi will be assessed using a more rigorous state test than in the past - the MCT2.  The Mississippi Department of Education developed this test after introducing a more rigorous curriculum in an effort to bring Mississippi student achievement more in line with that of other states.  Though it promises to be challenging, there are roles parents, teachers and students can play to ensure that Mississippi children do their best on the MCT2.
Click here for more details.

Governor Signs HB 513

Governor Haley Barbour signed HB 513, the education funding bill, at Rouse Elementary School in Brandon, Mississippi, marking the first time that the Mississippi Adequate Education Program has been fully funded in a non-election year.  Other components of The Quality Education Act funded in the bill include $9.1-million to extend teacher salary increments from 25 to 35 years, $3.4-million to provide mentors for all new teachers, $7-million for the Teacher Supply Fund, $13-million for the High School Redesign program, $3-million for early childhood education, and $1.5-million for dyslexia screening.

 House and Senate Adopt SB 2149 Conference Report
The House and Senate adopted the Conference Report on SB 2149, the superintendent accountability bill.  After heated debate, both chambers agreed on measures to remove superintendents after 2 full, consecutive years of underperformance.

House and Senate Fully Fund MAEP Adopt HB 513 Conference Report
The House and Senate adopted the conference report for HB 513, fully funding the MAEP for the first time in a non-election year.  The Legislature continues to debate non-appropriations measures. 
Click here to view 2008 Legislative Session Summary

 HB 513 Conferees Go Home for Weekend SB 2149 Conference Report Filed
Conferees for HB 513, the education funding bill, went home for the weekend after hammering out the majority of the bill's conference report.  A few details remain unresolved. Conferees expect to finalize and sign the report Monday morning. 
Conferees for SB 2149, the superintendent accountability bill, signed and filed their report before leaving for the weekend. 
The conference reports are due before the full House and Senate on Monday. 

HB 513 Conferees:
Rep. Cecil Brown 601-359-3330
Rep. Johnny Stringer 601-359-3340
Rep. Rufus Straughter 601-359-3396
Sen. Alan Nunnelee 601-359-3250
Sen. Videt Carmichael 601-359-3221
Sen. Bennie Turner 601-359-3210
Click here to find contact information for your legislators.

House and Senate Agree on General Fund Number, Conference Reports Expected by Monday
House and Senate Appropriations Chairmen announced late Thursday afternoon that they had reached agreement on an overall budget number for the coming fiscal year. Conferees immediately began meeting to finalize the details of the conference reports on their respective bills. Clickhere to see the House and Senate positions from which education funding negotiations began.  Continue to watch our website for updates as details of the conference reports become available.

 Legislators Continue Work on Budget Expected to Extend Session
As of Wednesday, Legislators had not agreed on a bottom-line figure for the General Fund, and all appropriations bills - including the education funding bill - remained unresolved.  Lawmakers are expected to extend the deadline for filing conference reports on appropriations bills.

  Budget Talks Break Down
Conferees Go Home For Weekend
Legislators went home for the remainder of the weekend after budget talks broke down.  Negotiations ended when House and Senate Appropriations chairs failed to agree on a bottom line figure for the General Fund (the amount of state funding available for appropriation).  Talks will resume Monday. 
 House Bill 513 Conferees Begin Work
House Bill 513 has been assigned to a Conference Committee, 3 members of the House and 3 of the Senate who will begin work this weekend to negotiate a compromise on education funding. 

 Full Senate Passes the Amended Version of House Bill 513
The Senate unanimously passed an amended version of House Bill 513, the education funding bill, and has returned it to the House for concurrence or nonconcurrence.  For a comparison of House and Senate versions of House Bill 513, click here .

 Click here  to view legislator votes for the 2008 Legislative Session. 

 Senate Appropriations Committee Amends Education Funding Bill   
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amended version of House Bill 513, the education funding bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee amendment fully funds the MAEP and reduces funding for other education initiatives.  The bill will now go to the floor of the Senate for debate.
See Comparison of House and Senate Appropriations Committee Versions

 Amended Senate Bill 2149 Passes House 
SB 2149 passed the House of Representatives after being amended to remove the language requiring that affected elected superintendent posts be appointed.  The amended version of the bill prohibits underperforming elected superintendents from running for reelection, but their successors will be elected rather than appointed.  Appointed superintendents in consistently underperforming districts will be removed from office at the end of the school year and their replacements appointed by the local school board.  The bill now goes back to the Senate for further debate.  Click 
here to view legislator votes on SB 2149.

 Important School Improvement Legislation Goes to House Floor Tuesday
On Tuesday, March 18th, the House of Representatives is likely to take up Senate Bill 2149, legislation that will mean significant improvement in schools for Mississippi children. SB 2149 calls for the removal of any superintendent, appointed or elected, whose district is underperforming for 2 consecutive years under that superintendent's leadership.
Mississippi kids simply cannot wait any longer for the Legislature to take this important step.Studies show that when children are subjected to poor education for 1 year, it is difficult for them to recover, for 2 years even more so. And when children are subjected to poor education for 3 or more years, studies show that, in most cases, they never recover from those missed years.  In other words, when we consistently subject children to a low quality education, we are sentencing them to lives of underachievement, under- or unemployment, and poverty. That is unacceptable.
SB 2149 also promises to help children in high performing districts, because when all districts perform better, many of the problems facing public education will be resolved. Fewer parents will attempt to send their children to schools outside their district of residency. Fewer children will move into high performing districts underprepared.All children will be educated to higher standards, and student achievement overall will rise.Mississippi can, at long last, begin to move forward.
Read more about SB 2149 here.


Get on the bus! 
Learn how you can help decrease our dropout rate in Mississippi by clicking on the link below.

House Education Committee Amends Appointed Superintendents Bill
The House Education Committee amended SB 2149, the appointed superintendents bill, to remove the provisions addressing selection of school boards and school district consolidation.  The amended bill calls for the removal of any superintendent, elected or appointed, in a school district determined to be underperforming for 2 consecutive years under that superintendent's leadership.  Elected superintendent posts subject to removal would become appointed.  The Parents' Campaign supports this effort to bring all school districts to an acceptable level of student achievement.

 $18-million in Returned Education Funds

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) recently announced it had returned to the state $18-million in unspent funds.  Some have questioned why additional education funds are appropriated if this money has been going unspent.

It is true that MDE has returned $18-million in unused funds.  These were not MAEP funds, however, and this was not a Department surplus as some have suggested.  Rather, these were restricted funds designated for teaching positions that could not be filled due to a teacher shortage.  Some legislators have offered the returned funds as a reason to reduce education funding and deny teachers a 3% increase in salary.  The Parents’ Campaign believes this is a reason to increase teacher salaries, not a reason to reduce funding.  Read more .

 House Passes Ed Funding Bill
The House of Representatives passed House Bill 513, an education funding bill that fully funds the Mississippi Adequate Education Program and provides some funding for each of the initiatives in the Quality Education Act.  This bill represents a very good step toward significant education reform and indicates a sincere desire by House members to invest in programs that will move Mississippi forward, even in a tight budget year.  The Senate will now take up the funding bill.  See final vote on HB 513

During debate on House Bill 513 an amendment was proposed that would have eliminated the 3% teacher pay raise and reduced funding for other initiatives in the Quality Education Act.  Fortunately, the amendment failed. You can see your Representative’s vote on that amendment at amendment vote

   Quality Education Act

Mississippi Elects
Education-Friendly Legislature
Landscape of the Senate Changes Dramatically 

Legislators and Lt. Governor State Positions On

  Parental Involvement & School Ratings Linked
Parents and communities can help ensure that their schools excel. See details .

 Parents' Campaign Members Call for Improvements

Parents' Campaign members spoke out strongly for change in their responses to our Legislative Priorities Survey.  Survey participants did not shy away from the sometimes controversial issues that have long been known to affect significantly the quality of our public schools.  Mississippi’s children are clearly the priority of TPC members, and they stand to benefit greatly from our commitment to a high-quality public education system.  See survey results .

Quality Education Act Mirrors TPC Priorities

On August 16, 2007, the Mississippi Board of Education announced that they have packaged their legislative priorities in the Quality Education Act of 2008.  This exciting initiative reflects the priorities of Parents' Campaign members and promises to bring significant change to our public education system. 

One aspect of the act that comes through loud and clear is that we are not merely trying to “get more money” for education.  The three segments of the Quality Education Act that require no state funding – improving school boards, moving to appointed superintendents in every school district, lowering the bond issue passage requirement – are just as important as the “money issues.”  We don’t want more money for money’s sake; we want more quality. 
See the Quality Education Act of 2008 .

 Stories of Children At Risk of Failure

Teachers, mentors and mothers have sent us their stories of children whose life circumstances make them more likely to fail than to succeed.  Some have happy endings.  Some do not.  All teach lessons we must learn and act on if we are to ensure every Mississippi child a shot at success. 
Read archived stories:

Week One     Week Two      Week Three

Email your story to:

DeSoto County Parents' Campaign members have requested a page identifying the education funding votes of all legislators representing DeSoto County.
Tate County Parents' Campaign members have requested a page identifying the education funding votes of all legislators representing Tate County.

Governor Barbour Signs House Bill 238

On Tuesday, April 17, 2007, Governor Barbour signed historic legislation that fully funded the Mississippi Adequate Education Program for only the second time in its history.  The efforts of The Parents' Campaign network members were largely responsible for this wonderful success story!  You can thank Governor Barbour for signing House Bill 238 into law by calling 601-359-3150.

 House and Senate Vote to Fully Fund the MAEP!

The House and Senate have approved the Conference Report for House Bill 238.  The bill fully funds the MAEP, provides a 3% raise for teachers and $500 raises for teacher assistants, provides increases in insurance and retirement benefits for teachers, fully funds the high-growth districts, and holds harmless districts that would have otherwise received less funding next year than in the current year.  It also funds a $100,000 increase in existing dyslexia programs.  Theproposals for additional at-risk, early childhood education, dyslexia screening and mentoring programs were not funded.  A joint committee of House and Senate members will study these issues and address them in the next legislative session. 
Click DISTRICTS to learn the level of funding your school district will receive for the coming year.

Senators for Full Funding
Twenty-two Senators voted in 2004 and/or 2005 to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.  Click HERE to see that list.

To learn what your school district would have done with extra resources had the MAEP been fully funded, click SCHOOL NEEDS .

Politicians Are Misrepresenting Expected Adjustment in the MAEP Figures

LBO Adjourns With No Budget Recommendation

Senate Won't Recommend Adequate K-12 Funding
For more information about the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, click on the MAEP tab above.