Mississippi 23rd in Parent Power Index

Brett Kittredge

A new report places Mississippi in the middle of the pack when it comes to providing parents with additional options in the education of their children.

Center for Education Reform’s Parent Power Index placed Mississippi 23rd overall, but gave the state a score of just 58, which is an F. That wasn’t terrible compared to everyone else. Indeed, the national average is only 52 percent, with 29 states earning an F.

“The Magnolia state’s weak charter school law and modest opportunity scholarship programs do not provide needed opportunity for students in the state. Additionally, Mississippi has thus far done very little to promote innovative options that foster personalized approaches to learning. While some robust teacher quality mechanisms work well and school board elections are held during general elections, Mississippi has a long way to go before parents have true power,” the report notes.

CER gives Mississippi a D for the state’s charter school law, ranking it 38th among the 45 states (plus the District of Columbia) that have charters.

More than 2,300 children in Mississippi exercise school choice and while that number is growing, it is still just a sliver of overall student enrollment. That is largely due to the limited availability of charter school seats, scholarships in the ESA program, and schools authorized to participate in the Dyslexia Scholarship.

Each of Mississippi’s neighboring states did slightly better, earning a D. Louisiana was the highest at 16th overall. Florida was the top-rated state in the nation for parental empowerment, while Indiana was second and Arizona third.

“Parent Power is the degree of access parents have to impact education opportunities. The Parent Power Index measures the ability in each state of a parent to exercise choices, no matter what their income or child’s level of academic achievement, engage with their local schools and school board, and have a voice in the education systems that surround them,” CER writes.