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Mississippi Senate Passes Charter School Bill

By Daniel Cherry | Published 16 Jan 2013 11:03pm | comments
The Mississippi Senate is pushing ahead on legislation that would expand charter schools in the state. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports, the Senate has passed their version of a charter school bill.
 
Mississippi Senators passed a charter school bill by a vote of 31 to 17. Before the vote, lawmakers battled over the bill for about three and a half hours yesterday afternoon and into the evening. The legislation, drafted by Senate Education Chairman, Gray Tollison, a Republican from Oxford, is viewed by many supporters as a way to improve education for all Mississippi children.
 
"There are some places where parents and students do not have a good choice, and we need to give them this option to create equal opportunity for every student in this state. And I hope that you'll join me and vote for this to move our state forward."
 
Charter schools are public schools, run by outside organizations...not the government. If the schools meet certain standards, they can forego some regulations. Supporters say school choice will improve education across the board, but opponents like Senator Hob Bryant, a Democrat from Amory, aren't so convinced.
 
"You start trying to figure out, what is this mania, this mania about charter schools. It's as though it's going to solve every problem of mankind."
 
After the dust settled, the charter school bill easily passed the Senate with two Democrats joining Republicans in support of the measure. Now the bill goes to the House, where Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves says he's confident representatives will support charter schools.
 
"I think as the public gets more and more engaged and more and more involved in this debate, that the members of the House will step up and do the right thing for kids in Mississippi."
 
Last year the Senate passed a charter school bill that died in the House Education Committee.

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