You folks are the best!
So many of you have emailed, called, and texted us to express your devotion to Mississippi kids and your outrage with legislators who last week put our children’s education in jeopardy, voting to thwart public will with a legislative alternative to the people’s school funding amendment.
Many of you report that your legislators are in “justification mode” – quoting from their talking points about the alternative, while swearing to be ardent supporters of public schools and promising great things for this legislative session.
We will be watching their votes and reporting the outcome to you. Votes on key bills will tell us if they’ve made good on their promises.
The Parents’ Campaign opposes bills that are intended to privatize education. Bills that would allow state-funded vouchers or “scholarships” to pay tuition at private academies or for-profit schools are being introduced, including HB 394, which is almost identical to the voucher bill that was narrowly defeated last year. This bill is again being sold as help for children with special needs, though private schools receiving the tuition voucher would have no accountability and would not be required to provide any special services or in any way meet the needs outlined in the child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Special Education task forces and committees have for years made recommendations to the Legislature about ways to improve services to Mississippi children. This bill does not address a single one of the recommendations that have been made. As bills continue to be posted, we are hoping to see legislation that offers real help to children with special needs. Click here to see an analysis of HB 394. Ask your legislators to vote NO on any bill that would use state money to pay tuition at a private or for-profit school.
The Parents’ Campaign supports adequate funding for public schools. The education appropriations bill will be voted on late in the legislative session. In the meantime, a number of bills that would change the way school funding is calculated have been introduced. We strongly support altering the formula to use average daily membership (enrollment) instead of attendance. We are in the process of analyzing other proposals to determine their impact on school funding. We will keep you posted on what we learn. In the meantime, ask your legislator to support using average daily membership to calculate MAEP and to oppose any change to the formula that would reduce school funding.
Want to Help?
We are getting lots of emails from members who are energized and ready to do more to ensure that those who want to shortchange and privatize public schools are not successful. If you would like some ideas about easy ways that you can be more involved, email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org. She would love to hear from you!
Bills continue to be posted on the legislative web site, and we are reviewing them as they appear. Please keep watching your email inbox for updates on legislation that could affect your schools and your children. If you would like to be added to our texting list to receive urgent notifications by text message when bills are being debated and votes are pending, reply to this email with your name and cell phone number.
It is very gratifying to know that so many of you care so deeply for your public schools that you are communicating with your legislators and watching their votes closely. Our kids are so very, very fortunate to have you in their corner!