What’s Your Favorite Halloween Candy? 

Raleigh, NC/United States- 10/31/2017: A large bowl of Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters.

As a child, Halloween was one of my favorite times of the year. It was a time to get dressed up and act silly, to put out spooky decorations, and, best of all, to collect mounds of candy.  

I’ve always been partial to Kit Kats and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, but other types of candy, such as Snickers, Milky Way, or 3 Musketeers, were always a welcome addition to my Trick or Treat bag.  

Occasionally, I’d end up with Tootsie Rolls, Candy Corn, Smarties, or those rubbery orange peanut-shaped sugar catastrophes that would likely find their way into the nearest trash can.  

There are a lot of folks who like Tootsie Rolls, Candy Corn, Smarties, and those orange circus peanuts, but I am not among them. Personally, I just don’t care for those Halloween goodies. However, I used to love those peanut butter kisses, which I recently found out was ranked one of the ten worst Halloween candies by candystore.com.   

Fortunately, there are usually a lot of different Halloween candies to choose from, and children are not limited to just one option. They can chow down on their favorites and discard the rest. They have choices.  

Imagine a world where, regardless of what your favorite candy is, you were assigned just one specific candy this Halloween. Maybe it’s a Snickers or a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, or maybe it’s Tootsie Rolls or those dreaded circus peanuts. Regardless, you only get one specific candy, and that candy is determined by where you live.  

As absurd as that hypothetical scenario may sound, a very similar scenario plays out every day in Mississippi’s K-12 education system. The current system limits parents and children to only one option for their education based solely on where they live.   

Just like our palates may be different when it comes to choosing our favorite Halloween candy, different “flavors” of education work better (or worse) for different students. Some students do great in their local government-run public school. Others do better in charter schools or private schools. Some benefit from the innovations or smaller class sizes afforded by microschools. And still others excel in homeschool.  

Assigning children one specific Halloween candy based on their neighborhood or zip code doesn’t make much sense. It doesn’t make much sense for assigning children to a specific school either.  

All children are not the same. They don’t learn the same. And it’s neither fair nor appropriate to treat them all the same. 

As the 2024 legislative session approaches, it’s time to end the “trick” and instead “treat” Mississippi students to more education options.