The bill would allow the state board to authorize charter schools in 120 districts rated “successful” or worse. For the 32 high performing or star districts in the state, the local school boards would have to approve them.
Opponents say creating a charter system would strip already inadequate funding from public schools. Some say they should be allowed only in poorly performing districts.
“We’re not opposed to charter schools as such,” said Tom Clark, director of the Gulf Coast Education Initiative Consortium of 24 school districts in South Mississippi. “But we would like to see it first on a more limited basis. The research is not out there that shows they are any more effective than public schools. … Where they have been effective is where the parents go the extra step. We wouldn’t even be having this conversation if we had that in all our public schools. Charter schools are not a knight in shining armor.”
Some version of the GOP-led move toward charter schools is expected to pass into law this year, and has the support of Gov. Phil Bryant.