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Education Committee Chairmen Promise Compromise On Charter Schools

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 07 Mar 2012 05:16pm | comments
Rep. John Moore.

Mississippi is one step closer to overhauling its education system. The leaders of the House and Senate education committees are promising to compromise to get a charter school bill passed this session. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports.

A bill to ease the path for Charter schools in Mississippi has passed the Senate and is currently in the house.

Senator Gray Tollison of Oxford says Charter schools are an essential part of education reform in Mississippi.

"This can help some communities across our state that need it. That need some outside influence. Maybe need a little disruption in their community, something new, to get them enthusiastic about education and about improving their student and their children's lives," Tollison said.

Tollison spoke in Jackson yesterday with House education chairman John Moore of Brandon.

Representative Moore says he is willing to be flexible with the bill if it means charter school legislation is passed.

"My feet are not in the concrete on any particular issue and I am assuming Senator Tollison and his committee are the same way over on the Senate side. We are both committed to coming through with a final good product for th sate of Mississippi before the end of the session," Moore said.

There are two big differences between the house and senate bills...The house bill permits virtual charter schools and lets local schools board authorize charter schools and the senate bill does not.

Kevin Gilbert with the Mississippi Association of Educators worries that the overhaul will decrease Mississippi teachers’ job security and ability to innovate in the classroom.

"It is going to prevent good teachers from trying to get into a system that is being created that is supposedly supposed to help students. It doesn't give teachers, if they get involved in this system, a voice if politics come into play on their job performance," Gilbert said.

Still, the bulk of state spending goes toward education.

When it comes time to draft a budget, the fight over how much to spend on education could put charter schools on hold.



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