Charter schools will give parents choice

Let me be clear: Being labeled as “successful” does not necessarily mean a district’s schools are meeting the state minimum requirements. In reality, districts can earn the label of “successful” while housing schools that are “low performing,” on “academic watch,” or “failing.”

For example, the East Tallahatchie County School District is rated as “successful” despite its three schools being rated as “low performing” or on “academic watch.” The McComb School District has three schools on “academic watch” though the district has been deemed “successful.” We cannot settle for simply successful districts producing average, or lower-than-average, results.

Mississippi is not entering new territory by allowing charter schools. Parents in New Orleans, Memphis and the Arkansas Delta have enjoyed a choice in their children’s education for many years.

In fact, the KIPP, or Knowledge Is Power Program, school in Memphis recently announced plans to expand with a $3 million grant from an education fund. Now, that’s real success.

Charter schools have the flexibility to meet the needs of today’s families while being held accountable for improving student achievement. If they fail, their charters will be revoked.

Lt. Governor Tate Reeves
Clarion Ledger Op-Ed
2/19/12