Mississippi state Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, a longtime champion of public education, said the current debate on charter schools in the state legislature is essentially the latest battle of a longstanding war against public education.
“Ever since I’ve been in the legislature we’ve been fighting over public education — those who believe in it and those on the other side,” said Bryan, a 29-year veteran legislator. “If you’ll look back over the years, you’ll find a group of people pretty much consistently on this side of the education issue and a group of people voting no on everything.
“Just look at the roll call. This is a roll call on education. Look who’s voting which way. Overwhelmingly the people voting no on every public school issue over the last eight years … if you compare the charter school roll calls, the people voting yes on charter schools are extraordinarily similar to the no votes from years past.”
Bryan and Mississippi First executive director Rachel Canter, a charter school supporter, debated the issue recently at the University of Mississippi’s Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics in Oxford. Mississippi First is a non-profit organization active in public policy issues.