This morning, the Senate passed the conference report on charter schools by a vote of 34-18, which sends the measure to the governor for his signature. The House approved the conference report yesterday by a vote of 62-56. This is far from a perfect bill, but it is a good start and will give some Mississippi children an opportunity to receive a quality education that they would not have had otherwise. In politics, it’s important not to let the perfect become the enemy of the good. In this case, this is a good bill and we celebrate its passage!
Mississippi Center for Public Policy has been promoting the concept of charter schools for more than fifteen years, not as a cure-all for our broken public education system, but as a way to provide parents whose children are trapped in schools that are not meeting their needs, a much needed choice. Because of this legislation, some Mississippi parents will now have that choice. And we now have the chance to show people what charter schools really are instead of the caricature that has been painted of them by charter school opponents. As students begin to succeed in charter schools, most objections will end and demand will grow.
We especially want to thank Lt. Governor Reeves and Sen. Gray Tollison for their strong and determined leadership on this issue, and House Speaker Philip Gunn, Rep. John Moore, and Rep. Charles Busby for their hard work in convincing a surprisingly reluctant House to give this option to Mississippi students. Governor Bryant has been an ally in the fight for charter schools for many years and we look forward to him signing this bill into law.
This is an important victory for us and all Mississippians, but our work on this would not have been possible without our supporters. Thank you for your commitment to our effort to provide parents the options they need to direct the education and upbringing of their children.