2017 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 68%
Education Savings Account
The Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Program, an education savings accounts program, allows Mississippi students with special needs to receive a portion of their public funding in a government-authorized savings account with multiple uses. The program was enacted in 2015.
The Nate Rogers Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program was enacted and launched in 2013. It is the nation’s only voucher program designed for students with speech-language therapy needs. Students with qualifying special needs can apply for a voucher to help them attend a private school that offers speech-language therapy.
Mississippi has the nation’s only school choice program created exclusively for students with dyslexia. Enacted in 2012, the program provides vouchers to families of children with dyslexia to attend accredited private schools with dyslexia therapy programs.
Charter Schools Score: 62%
Mississippi has a weak charter school law which does not promote growth of charter schools.
Mississippi’s law places several preconditions on charter schools before allowing them to open. These preconditions have limited the growth of charter schools and as of now only three schools have opened.
Mississippi Earned a D on CER’s new charter school law rankings primarily due to the fact that since Mississippi’s charter school law has passed in 2010 there has been little to no growth in their charter school sector suggesting that the law is strangling charter operators ability to apply for and run effective schools. Additionally the law in Mississippi provides very inequitable funding for charter schools
- Fast Facts
- Law Passed: 2010
- Number of Charter Schools: 3
- Estimated Charter School Enrollment: 400 (up 100percent from 2015-16)
- Mississippi does have a cap on the number of charter schools
- Virtual Charter Schools not permitted
- Charters can contract with CMOs but not EMOs for management purposes
- Mississippi scored a five out of fifteen for authorizers. Mississippi has one authorizer, the Mississippi Charter Board, which oversees charter applications throughout the state. While the Mississippi Charter Board is preferable to having solely districts authorize schools, having multiple entities who are able to authorize charter schools (even districts) would be preferable because they would provide another option for charter schools to be authorized which may better fit the needs of the specific school. Having a variety of schools that operate differently is the hallmark of a successful charter school environment, unfortunately, having one authorizer ensures that this will not happen. Additionally with one authorizer, there is a large potential for regulations from the authorizer since every charter school needs to be authorized by the same entity and can’t pick one that is less regulative.
- Mississippi earned a three out of fifteen for growth. Mississippi caps the number of charter schools that can be authorized at fifteen new charters per year along with only allowing the authorization of charter schools in low performing areas. Furthermore, the regulatory environment is one that in the seven years since the charter school law has passed, there has been little to no growth in the number of charter schools that are operating.
- Mississippi earned a nine out of twenty for operations. Charter schools in Mississippi are exempt from some but not all laws and regulations that apply to traditional schools and are their own LEA’s. However, schools are required to follow several regulations on issues such as discipline and curriculum, which limits their autonomy to use innovative models. The strength of charter schools stems from their ability to embrace innovative models in all facets of their operation including in controversial ones such as discipline and curriculum. Therefore, schools operate less effectively in Mississippi which ultimately hurts the students. Additionally, three years after being approved, charter schools need to have 100percent of its teachers meet the same teacher certification standards that traditional public school teachers meet. The sole effect of this policy is that it prevents individuals who have not gone through the bureaucratic measures of teacher certification from working with students even if the charter schools thinks they are the right individual for the job.
Mississippi earned a four out of fifteen for funding equity. In Mississippi, local funding for charter schools is equal to the ad valorem tax receipts and in-lieu payments received for the support of the school district in which the student resides. The pro rata ad valorem receipts and in-lieu receipts include all levies for the support of the school district. The state directs the proportionate share of funds from federal and state categorical funds, special education, vocational, etc… to eligible charter schools. The state authorizer receives a three percent administrative fee from a school’s annual per-pupil allocations. Charter Schools Receive no Per Pupil Facilities Funding.
Online Learning Score: 62%
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.
Teacher Quality Score: 75%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers C-
Expanding the Pool of Teachers B-
Identifying Effective Teachers C-
Retaining Effective Teachers C
Exiting Ineffective Teachers D+