Major Elements of HB 1152, the Mississippi Public Charter Schools Act of 2012

Thursday, April 26th, 2012


Major Elements of HB 1152, the Mississippi Public Charter Schools Act of 2012


A charter school is a nonprofit educational organization that is a public school. As such, they:


    • cannot charge tuition.
    • administer the same state tests and are rated under the same system as regular public schools.
    • must accept all students who apply, unless there’s not enough room, in which case they draw names, giving all students an equal chance.
    • are subject to the same restrictions on teaching religious doctrine as regular public schools.
    • may not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, disability and other categories.
    • are subject to civil rights, health, and safety laws.
    • are subject to an independent audit of their finances, just as school districts are.



Press Release: Charter School Bill Fails in House Committee

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

For Immediate Release

April 3, 2012


Forest Thigpen (601) 969-1300



The House Education Committee voted today to kill a charter school bill that would have brought public school choice to thousands of children across the state. After passing the Senate in February, the House Education Committee today defeated Senate Bill 2401 by a vote of 15 to 16.


Forest Thigpen, president of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, expressed disappointment over the bill’s defeat:


“The education establishment has built a Berlin Wall around the current system to keep their own people from escaping to freedom and opportunity. This battle is far from over. We will continue to call on our legislators to tear down this wall.”


“Today, a handful of legislators voted to sentence countless parents and children to more futility and hopelessness. Even worse, this sentence was handed down by legislators whose districts would not even be affected by this bill. This issue really boils down to one fundamental question: ‘Do you believe parents know what’s best for their children, or do you believe government knows what’s best?'”


“I am encouraged that the governor has announced his willingness to call a special session to give the full legislature the opportunity to give parents more options for meeting their children’s needs.”


“I applaud the members who took a courageous stand and voted for the bill in the face of enormous pressure from the education establishment.” Members voting for the bill: Tracy Arnold (Booneville), Toby Barker (Hattiesburg), Randy Boyd (Mantachie), Gary Chism (Columbus), Carolyn Crawford (Pass Christian), Becky Currie (Brookhaven), Dennis Debar (Leakesville), Chuck Espy (Clarksdale), Herb Frierson (Poplarville), Jeffrey Guice (Ocean Springs), Rita Martinson (Madison), Brad Mayo (Oxford), Kevin McGee (Rankin County), John Moore (Rankin County), and Joe Warren (Mount Olive).


Legislators voting against allowing Mississippi children to attend a charter school include:
Alyce Clarke (Jackson), Nick Bain (Corinth), Clara Burnett (Tunica), Credell Calhoun (Jackson), Reecy Dickson (Macon), James Evans (Jackson), Joe Gardner (Batesville), Forrest Hamilton (DeSoto County), Gregory Holloway (Hazlehurst), Wanda Jennings (DeSoto County), Steve Massengill (Hickory Flat), Pat Nelson (DeSoto County), Rufus Straughter (Belzoni), Sara R. Thomas (Indianola), Tom Weathersby (Rankin County), Linda Whittington (Schlater).


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Charter Schools Action Alert: Contact Your Representative!

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

The Education Committee of the Mississippi House of Representatives will be voting THIS MONDAY OR TUESDAY on whether to allow charter public schools in Mississippi. The deadline for action in committee is Tuesday, April 3, and if it is approved by the committee, the full House of Representatives will have until April 11 to pass it.


Many representatives who were expected to support the bill are wilting under the pressure being applied by the education establishment. They need to hear from you!


The opponents of charter schools are working diligently to stop the push for school choice. They are pressuring legislators to vote against this bill, or to amend it in ways that severely weaken it. Your Representatives need to hear from folks who support more public school options for Mississippi families!


Use the House roster to find your Representative (or call the Capitol switchboard at (601) 359-3770) today and urge him or her to VOTE YES on Senate Bill 2401, the Public Charter Schools bill! If your representative is not on the Education Committee, encourage them to ask their colleagues who are on the committee to approve the bill and give the full House a chance to vote on it.




  • A charter school is a public school that is created to meet students’ educational needs in unique ways.

  • Charter public schools are given freedom from some rules and regulations that traditional public schools have to follow. In exchange for that freedom, a charter school is held to a high standard of achievement and accountability.

  • If a charter school succeeds, it continues to operate; if it does not succeed, it closes.

  • No students or teachers are assigned to a charter school by a school district. Parents choose to send their children, and teachers choose whether to apply to a charter school to teach there.

  • Charter schools should be allowed everywhere and not limited to the worst performing districts.

For more information about charter schools, visit our Charter School F.A.Q. at ParentPower.net



Use the House roster to find your Representative (or call the Capitol switchboard at (601) 359-3770) today and urge him or her to VOTE YES on the Charter School bill!


Also, please write letters to the editor of your local newspaper, post your support on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or in the comments section under news articles about charter schools.
Thank you!

Answers to Your Questions About Charter Schools

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Q. Why do parents and children in “Successful” districts need public charter schools?


Q. How will charters impact existing public school funding?


Q: Why can public charter schools hire teachers who might not have a state teaching certificate or license?


Q. Who should exercise oversight over public charter schools?


Q. How do we know public charter schools are effective?


Q. Why not wait?


Read the answers here


EVERYONE WINS: How Charter Schools Benefit All New York City Public School Students

Monday, March 19th, 2012

As charter schools continue to grow in size and number, so does their influence on traditional public school systems. Critics charge that charters rob traditional public schools of their most promising and motivated students and the resources they need to provide a quality education, since the size of school budgets corresponds to the number of students enrolled. Charter schools’ proponents, relying on market theory, argue that traditional public schools can be expected to respond to competition for students—who are proxies for customers—by improving the quality of education they offer.


Using student-level data, a report by Marcus Winters of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, examines the impact of charter schools on the academic performance of students who remain in the local public schools of New York City, instead of joining its rapidly expanding charter sector. In particular, it tests whether there is a relationship between how much math and reading skill a regular public school student has acquired during a school year and the percentage of his or her classmates who left for a charter school at the end of the previous school year, controlling for both observed and unobserved factors pertaining to the student and his or her school.


The analysis reveals that students benefit academically when their public school is exposed to competition from a charter.


Findings include:


  • For every 1 percent of a public school’s students who leave for a charter, reading proficiency among those who remain increases by about 0.02 standard deviations, a small but not insignificant number, in view of the widely held suspicion that the impact on local public schools of students’ departures for charter schools would be negative.


  • Competition from charter schools has no effect on overall student achievement in math.


  • In both math and reading, the lowest-performing students in public school benefit from competition from charter schools.


Read the full study here

School Choice for All Children

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Cynthia Jackson is imprisoned by her zip code.


She lives in Canton, works as an anesthesia technician, and is a single mother to Will, a 5th grader in Canton public schools.


And there’s the problem. Will is earning good grades and wants to excel. But Cynthia knows that her son is not being challenged. She looks at the thriving schools in the Madison County School District, just a few miles away, and knows her son’s school is just not meeting his needs.


But what options does she have?



Beyond City Limits: Expanding Public Charter Schools in Rural America

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Beyond City Limits: Expanding Public Charter Schools in Rural America, is the latest publication from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Written by David Stuit, PhD, and Sy Doan of Basis Policy Research, this issue brief explores how public charter schools can meet the educational needs of rural communities.

Read the study here


ACTION ALERT: Charter Schools

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Tomorrow (Tuesday 2/21) at 9:00 am, the Senate Education Committee will be taking up and voting on SB 2401, which would greatly strengthen Mississippi’s charter school law. It is likely that the full senate will take up this charter school bill later this week.

There is a concerted effort by some to weaken the bill so that only those districts with chronically underperforming schools would be allowed to establish a charter school. We believe all Mississippi parents should have the option of a charter school, not just parents in the worst of the worst school districts.


Please contact your state senator IMMEDIATELY!


  • Vote “Yes” on SB 2401.
  • Charter schools should be allowed everywhere and not limited to the worst performing districts.

To find out who your state senator is, enter your home address on this website www.votesmart.org and then click “State Legislative.”


Look up your senator’s contact information here

Thank you!