November 4, 2015 by Grant Callen
Initiative 42 Defeated
Education Reform Majorities Surge in the Legislature
Last night was Waterloo for the education status quo in Mississippi, a powerful statement that the voters of Mississippi support the bold education reforms of these last four years and do not want to go backwards.
These last six months, Mississippi has had a robust statewide debate about how to solve our woefully underperforming public education system. The citizens were presented with two visions for how we improve Mississippi’s education system, and the contrast could not be more stark. Proponents of Initiative 42 traveled the state making the case that more money is the solution to our education woes. The leaders in this movement demonized Mississippi’s elected leaders and argued that education funding and policymaking authority should be taken away from them.
On the other side, policymakers, led by Governor Bryant, Lt. Governor Reeves, and Speaker Gunn argued that we are already on the right path. In the last four years, Mississippi approved an array of bold reforms that have empowered parents with new education options for their children, including A-F grading of school districts, third-grade reading gate, charter schools, and the education scholarship account program for students with special needs. These reforms are working and changing lives.
When the voters were given a choice between these two visions, the citizens of Mississippi spoke with a resounding voice, defeating Initiative 42 and growing education reform majorities in the legislature. The voters made education a key issue and those legislators who stood up for children despite opposition were rewarded. Policymakers now have a mandate to expand the reforms and make Mississippi’s education system second to none!