Charter schools offer alternative to mediocre schools

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and legislative Republicans are taking heat this week for trying to give the charter school concept an honest try. But a look at the status quo in Mississippi public education suggests that the concept is an alternative worth empowering.

Mississippi has 1,055 public schools in 152 school districts. As of 2011, the system served 493,540 students in 447 elementary schools, 189 middle schools and 282 high schools. Some 250,329 of those students are black, 233,271 are white, 5,408 are Hispanic, 3,688 are Asian and 844 are American Indian.

The performance of the state’s public school districts and individual school are evaluated on several factors, including student achievement on standardized tests, academic growth and, for high schools, graduation rates.

Sid Salter