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Archive for October 2018

The Hopkinses: In Limbo After Receiving an ESA

Missy and Will Hopkins knew from the moment they met their son Alan that they would do everything in their power to give him a better life. “Alan came home to us on October 29, 2014, after a life in foster care,” said Missy. “He was a first grader at Houston Elementary School in Houston,…

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The Gaddises: We Know What’s Best for Our Son

“Relief.” That’s how Shannon and Desmond Gaddis of Jackson describe the feeling they would have if their son Arthur were to receive an Education Scholarship Account (ESA). The Gaddis’ son, 14, was diagnosed with narcolepsy at age 11 following struggles he experienced early on in childhood. “Arthur didn’t start talking until he was three,” said…

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Oklahoma’s doin’ fine and Mississippi could take a lesson

“You’re doin’ fine, Oklahoma!  Oklahoma, okay!” That line from the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein production Okahoma! may say it best when it comes to the state’s approach to criminal justice reform. There’s no doubt that Oklahoma and Mississippi share some similarities.  Both are relatively rural states with more than half the population living in rural…

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The Stricklins: We Should Be Able to Use Our Tax Dollars

A parent seeking the best educational choice for their child will go to great lengths. That was the case for JoAnna Stricklin when it came to her son Jackson. In fact, those lengths were demonstrated when JoAnna and her husband Charles moved across several states to ensure that their autistic son received the best education…

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Mississippi’s First Charter High School Approved

Today, the Mississippi Charter Authorizer Board approved two new charter schools for the Jackson area. Last month, the board tabled consideration of three school proposals until the 2017-2018 school grades were released. RePublic Schools, a group that already operates three charter schools in Jackson, had applied to open a high school and another K-8 school.…

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The Smiths: ‘Trapped’ on the Wait List

(Note: This story is about a public school teacher who wants an ESA, so she and her family asked to remain anonymous.) “They are trapped.” That’s how one Meridian mother describes children like her 12-year-old son who have special needs and find themselves waiting on the Special Needs Education Scholarship Account (ESA). Mississippi passed the…

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The McCools: ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’

“Where do we go from here?” That’s the question Donna McCool of Flowood finds herself asking when it comes to the cost associated with educating her daughter Kensley. Entering school, a time when most children are excited and eager to learn, Kensley was struggling. By the time she reached the first grade Kensley’s teachers recognized…

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Could Diversion Programs Help More People Find Meaningful Work?

The issue of drug addiction is widespread, and Mississippi is no exception. This issue touches everyone in the state – almost everyone has a family member, friend, or co-worker who’s struggled with issues of addiction. Addiction comes with catastrophic costs and can be deadly – the number of opioid overdoses has been on the rise…

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The Joneses: “Hoping We Will Be Next”

Yes, it’s really heartbreaking when you get that letter for a second time saying you did not get an ESA. (Note: This story is about a public school teacher who wants an ESA, so she and her family asked to remain anonymous.) For parents of children with special needs, sifting through loads of paperwork and…

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