School Choice Score: 69%
The Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship program allows for students in grades 1-6 who have been diagnosed with dyslexia to attend private school if their current public schools are unable to provide programs to help them. The mere 73 students participating in the program are eligible to receive up to 100 percent of the state per-pupil funding amount. A new scholarship program for students that have speech and language disabilities has also been created, but hasn’t resulted in greater opportunities yet. The state permits parents some choices among traditional public schools but it restricts such choice to outside of their district.
Charter Schools Score: 72%
One school has opened as of the start of the 2015-16 school year, but the slow movement is due to the weak charter law that places lots of conditions on how schools are authorized, has a cap of 15 schools statewide and limited autonomy for charters.
Online Learning Score: 0%
Mississippi’s Virtual Public School was established in 2006, and serves as the only major online program in the state. School districts may restrict student enrollment in online coursework. In April 2013, a modest improvement to the state’s charter law allowed for charter schools to provide online content. Their MS Virtual Public School serves students in grades 9-12, though all students are required to gain approval from their local school district, and home schooled students must pay for their courses. Funding follows the student to the school of their choice, however there are limited options for students wishing for alternative choices.
- Source: Digital Learning Now!
Teacher Quality Score: 75%
Objective evidence of student learning is the preponderant criterion of annual teacher evaluations. Neither tenure decisions nor licensure advancement and renewal are based on teacher effectiveness. Ineffective classroom performance is not a ground for dismissal in the state. Tenure is earned after just one year, and performance is not considered during layoffs. Mississippi has a state salary schedule that is based on seniority and advanced degrees, but teachers may receive performance pay through a voluntary plan that allows districts to reward teachers at high-performing schools.