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Imagine if we were required to shop for groceries in a particular store because of where we happened to live?

It would be absurd, yet that is pretty much the way the public education system operates in Mississippi. Moms and dads have little choice over the education their child receives – unless they are able to locate to a particular zip code or go private.

Charter schools were supposed to change this. Paid for with public money, but run independently, Charter Schools would give everyone opportunities that rich people previously had.

Tragically, this has not happened for one fundamental reason: the Charter School Authorizer Board has only ever approved seven such schools to open in the entire state. 

Last week, the Board failed to approve a single new school – despite the fact that in June we were told five new applications were in the pipeline.

Big Brother probably would have opposed school choice, too.
The Board seems to blame the legislation, which they say does not mandate them to encourage and incubate would-be applicants. (It might not mandate them to incubate new applicants, but where does it stipulate that they shouldn’t?)

Others point out that we have had endless tinkering with Charter School law in this state already, and that the real problem is an unwillingness to have more independent schools.

Inertia always comes with a bureaucratic excuse.

Those that will pay the price for last week’s appalling failure are kids in Jackson, Greenville, Natchez, and elsewhere who will not be getting the education they have a right to expect – and whose life chances will suffer as a direct consequence.

The stark truth is that there has been very little progress on school choice in our state in a very long time.

At the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, we believe that the fight for school choice has become urgent.  It is one of the most important policy battles America faces.  Now is the time for a fundamentally different approach if we are going to actually win.

Warm Regards,

Douglas Carswell
President & CEO is an online news source serving Simpson and surrounding counties as well as the State of Mississippi.


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