Business Leaders Call for Charter SchoolsBy Daniel Cherry | Published 07 Jan 2013 06:42pm |
Also topping the 2013 legislative agenda is education reform, and as MPB's Daniel Cherry reports, charter schools are expected to be the biggest education issue.
A group of 22 business leaders is calling on lawmakers to pass a charter school bill. They call themselves Better Education for Mississippi. Joel Bomgar, CEO of the Bomgar Corporation leads the group. He says parents in any district in the state should be able to choose if they want charter schools.
"The benefit you get from charter schools is that it makes everybody better. In any marketplace the more choice a customer has, the better providers are able to be."
Charter schools receive public funds, but are operated by a private or non-profit organization...not the government. Among charter schools' supporters is Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves. While many Mississippians are wary of allowing charter schools in districts that aren't failing, Reeves supports opening up all districts to more choice.
"Did you know that there are more kids trapped in failing public schools in C districts than there are in F districts. I don't think we should pass a law which allows public charter schools that forgets those kids that are trapped in failing public schools."
Some are concerned charter schools could draw much needed resources out of poor districts. And while many top Republicans have made charter schools a high priority, that's drawing the skepticism of some Democrats like Senator Kenny Wayne Jones of Canton.
"How do you get conservatives to start talking about educating children, in the same breath they won't give these same children healthcare. It just doesn't add up, and we're not going to do that. And we're going to look at it for what it is, and we're going to fight to make sure everybody is treated they way they're supposed to be."
Last session, a charter school bill passed the Senate, but then died in the House Education Committee.
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