Jackson, MS, July 12, 2016 - Forest Thigpen, president of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, issued the following statement regarding the lawsuit filed yesterday by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The suit alleges that charter school funding violates the Mississippi constitution, in part because the plaintiffs say charter schools are not "free" schools:
Charter schools are public schools, and since they charge no tuition, any rational person would conclude that they are "free" schools as referenced by the state constitution.
Parents are responsible for their children's education. It is immoral for the government to force parents to send their children to schools that do not meet their academic and related needs, especially when other public options are available, including charter schools.
Parents who have enough money to move to a better district or to send their children to private schools already have options. Charter schools, as demonstrated by the student population at the two schools that opened this year, primarily serve families who cannot afford either of those options.
Improving educational outcomes is one of the most important ways to lift children out of poverty, and charter schools offer that hope to parents who want a better future for their children. By pursuing this lawsuit, it appears as though the Southern Poverty Law Center wants to perpetuate, not alleviate, southern poverty.
The Mississippi Center for Public Policy is an independent, non-profit organization based in Jackson. It works to advance the ideals of free markets, limited government, and strong traditional families. Its work, including the Mississippi Justice Institute, is supported by voluntary, tax-deductible contributions. It receives no funds from government agencies for its operations. To learn more about MCPP, visit www.mspolicy.org.