The Empower Mississippi news blog brings you the latest from the school choice and education reform movement in Mississippi and beyond.
Last summer the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit attempting to shut down Mississippi’s public charter schools.
Each chamber will now have three members negotiate a conference report, which is the final legislation both chambers will again vote on and must approve before the bill heads to the Governor.
Last night the Senate adopted an expansion to the Dyslexia Scholarship in a 30-19 vote. Here is a roll call of how each Senator voted.
Today the Senate adopted legislation to expand the Dyslexia Scholarship program in a 30-19 vote.
Empower Mississippi is seeking a full-time Director of Development.
During his first address to a joint chamber of Congress, President Donald Trump called education “the civil rights issue of our time” and again pushed for Congress to pass school choice legislation.
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted today to send the Dyslexia Scholarship expansion to the full Senate.
Cena Holifield, the Executive Director of the 3-D School, recently penned a letter in support of House Bill 1046, pending legislation that would expand the Dyslexia Scholarship program.
It is an affront to basic human decency to campaign against these students who are simply trying to attend a school that helps them learn.
The state legislature approved the Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship program in 2012 to provide a new educational option for students with dyslexia.
Dyslexia Scholarship Expansion Clears Senate Ed. Committee
February 23, 2017 by Brett Kittredge
Earlier today, the Senate Education Committee voted to expand the Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship program.
The Legislature Should Expand The Dyslexia Scholarship
February 15, 2017 by Brett Kittredge
This year new legislation has been proposed that would expand the Dyslexia Scholarship program for students through 12th grade. It passed the House last week in a 100-14 vote and now awaits action in the Senate.
Earlier this week Betsy DeVos was confirmed as United States Secretary of Education. As far as I can tell, district schools are still in operation, but that has not been confirmed.
Now that school choice is receiving more attention on the national level than ever before, here is a look at where we may be headed and what it means for Mississippi students.
Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education today in a historic vote with the Vice President casting the tie-breaking vote.
Charter School Enrollment Surpasses 3 Million
February 1, 2017 by Brett Kittredge
According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, an estimated 3.1 million students attend one of the more than 6,900 public charter schools during the 2016-2017 school year.
U.S. Senate HELP Committee Advances DeVos Nomination
January 31, 2017 by Grant Callen
The United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions voted today to confirm Betsy DeVos’ nomination for Secretary of Education.
Open Letter Of Support: Betsy DeVos For Secretary Of Education
January 30, 2017 by Brett Kittredge
Empower Mississippi joined more than 70 state leaders and organizations in showing support for Betsy DeVos to be the next United States Secretary of Education.
President Trump Releases National School Choice Week Proclamation
January 27, 2017 by Brett Kittredge
President Donald Trump has issued a proclamation in honor of National School Choice Week.
ICYMI: Students, Families Rally For School Choice At Capitol
January 25, 2017 by Brett Kittredge
Yesterday, students and families from across the state met at the State Capitol in Jackson to celebrate National School Choice Week. Here is what they are saying about the event.
This morning nearly 1,000 students, teachers, and families from around the state descended on the State Capitol to take part in the 2nd Annual Mississippi School Choice Rally.
The Mississippi Department of Education announced today that they will be holding a new lottery for families wishing to enroll in the Special Needs Education Scholarship Account program.
Callen: School Choice Is Quickly Becoming Mainstream
Grant Callen, Guest Columnist, January 23, 2017
Across the country, from the nation’s capitol to state capitols, school choice policies are on the move. And for good reason: parents want more high quality choices for the education of their children.
Mississippi Families Rally For School Choice At 133 Events
January 23, 2017 by National School Choice Week
National School Choice Week begins today in Mississippi and across the country. There are 133 events planned in the Magnolia State to raise awareness about K-12 school choice, and 21,392 events nationwide.
This week we are celebrating School Choice Week in the state of Mississippi.
Donald J. Trump is being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States today as he takes the oath of office at the United States Capitol in Washington D.C.
1,000+ To Rally In Jackson During National School Choice Week
January 18, 2017 by Brett Kittredge
More than one thousand students, parents, teachers, and community leaders will celebrate school choice in the Magnolia State during National School Choice Week.
Gov. Bryant Proclaims Jan. 22-28 “School Choice Week” In Mississippi
January 17, 2017 by National School Choice Week
Gov. Phil Bryant has officially proclaimed January 22-28, 2017 as “School Choice Week” in the state of Mississippi.
EdBuild Announces Recommendations For Funding Formula
January 17, 2017 by Grant Callen
EdBuild, the national firm who was hired to study the state’s education funding formula, has released their much-anticipated recommendations on how to update and modernize the state’s education funding formula.
Lt. Governor Tate Reeves sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions last week outlining his support for Betsy DeVos’ nomination to be the next United States Secretary of Education.
New Poll Shows Support For School Choice Remains Strong
January 13, 2017 by Brett Kittredge
A new poll shows school choice continues to enjoy popularity nationwide. Sixty-eight percent of voters support giving parents the ability to use the tax dollars associated with their child’s education to send their child to the school they choose.
Enrollment Share In Jackson’s Charter Schools Quickly Growing
January 11, 2017 by Brett Kittredge
After just one full year, charter schools already make up nearly 10 percent of Jackson’s public school enrollment in the three grades that charter schools currently serve showing the high demand from parents in the city.
Join Gov. Bryant, Lt. Gov. Reeves At National School Choice Week
January 10, 2017 by Brett Kittredge
National School Choice Week will be here in just two weeks! Join Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, and many others as we celebrate education choice for all students in Mississippi.
This week at a meeting of the House Education Committee, Superintendent of Education Carey Wright gave a progress report on the Special Needs Education Scholarship Account (ESA) program. Her remarks generated some questions about the enrollment numbers.
The Importance Of Understanding Parental Satisfaction
January 4, 2017 by Brett Kittredge
The most important and often overlooked measure in determining the quality of education that a child is receiving is parental satisfaction. Parents are attuned to their child’s unique situation, learning needs, and educational progress in ways that cannot always be captured in test scores.
New Legislative Session Begins Today
January 3, 2017 by Brett Kittredge
The 2017 legislative session kicks off today when the House and Senate gavel in at noon. After the extended session last year, lawmakers will be back to work early as we return to the traditional 90 day calendar.
Support Betsy DeVos For Secretary Of Education
January 2, 2017 by Grant Callen
As education reformers and school choice supporters, we now have an unprecedented opportunity to express support for one of our own to become the U.S. Secretary of Education.
2016: A Year In Review
December 20, 2016 by Brett Kittredge
We shared many great moments in 2016, a year that began with a rally for education choice at the State Capitol and ended with the release of a survey showing families are overwhelmingly satisfied with the Special Needs ESA. We saw school choice expanded during the legislative session and families fight back against a lawsuit attempting to shut down Mississippi’s public charter schools.
Expanding Opportunity Nationwide
December 15, 2016 by Jason Bedrick | CATO Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom
America’s education system is evolving. For more than a century, most children have attended the district school to which they were assigned based on the location of their parents’ home. For the most part, children are assigned to a grade level based on the year they were born and are expected to advance at roughly the same pace as their same-aged peers across all subjects—a system that bores advanced students while others struggle to keep up.
Mississippi Continues To Have One Of The Strongest Charter School Laws In The Country
December 13, 2016 by Brett Kittredge
Mississippi has once again been recognized for having one of the strongest charter school laws in the country after a new report put Mississippi eighth among the 44 states (and the District of Columbia) that have charter school laws.
Mississippi’s ESA: What The Parents Say
December 12, 2016 by Brett Kittredge
The Special Needs Education Scholarship Account was approved in 2015 and with the first year now behind us, we wanted to hear what parents thought of the program. So, we surveyed parents from across the state who have students enrolled in the ESA program to get their feedback.
School Choice Now In The National Spotlight
November 29, 2016 by Brett Kittredge
After growing rapidly at the state level for almost a decade, the school choice movement is positioned to occupy a national platform it has never previously enjoyed thanks to the election of Donald Trump and his nominee to be Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.
Press Release: Betsy DeVos Named Secretary Of Education
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NOVEMBER 23, 2016
Empower Mississippi President Grant Callen made the following statement after President-elect Donald Trump nominated Betsy DeVos to be the next Secretary of Education.
We believe that parents know better than anyone else, including the government, on what is the best educational setting for their child. And that if we give parents the ability to choose, they will make the right decision. And they can do that very easily thanks to today’s technology.
Where Trump Stands On School Choice
November 9, 2016 by Brett Kittredge
During the campaign Donald Trump outlined an impressive vision for school choice in America. As president-elect, he now has the opportunity to move forward with this goal.
Responsibility For School Spending Belongs At Local Level
November 7, 2016 by Brett Kittredge
A recurring theme that has been emphasized by legislative leaders during the education funding formula revamp process is a desire to get more money into the classroom. We certainly agree with this goal and have noted in the past that administrative costs, particularly the percentage of a school district’s staff that is nonteachers, has been growing steadily, most notably in failing school districts.
School Choice Options Continue To Grow In Popularity
November 4, 2016 by Brett Kittredge
Going back to 2000, we have seen the number of homeschoolers double and we have seen the number of students who attend a public charter school or enroll in a private school choice program grow in even larger numbers.
Formula Revamp Represents an Opportunity to Make Education More Student-Centered
October 31, 2016 by Grant Callen
Last month it was announced that the legislature has hired the nonprofit EdBuild to review the state’s current education funding formula, which is now nearly two decades old. We believe this is a good opportunity to reevaluate the way we fund education in Mississippi to ensure our funding formula is student-centered, equitable, and transparent.
Parents Overwhelmingly Support School Choice
October 27, 2016 by Brett Kittredge
A nationwide poll recently conducted by EdChoice shows that parents with school age children are more likely to support school choice than the nation as a whole.