2018 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 60%
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 earns a “D” on CER’s charter school law rankings. Since Mississippi’s charter
law passed in 2010 there has been little to no growth in the charter school sector. This slow expansion is attributable to a heavy regulatory environment and inequitable funding for charter schools.
- Law passed: 2010
- Number of charter schools: 3
- Estimated charter school enrollment: 400 (up 100 percent from 2015-16)
- Mississippi caps the number of charter schools
- Virtual charter schools are not permitted
- Charters can contract with CMOs but not EMOs for management purposes
- Mississippi scores 5 out of 15 for “authorizing.” Mississippi has one authorizer, the Mississippi Charter Board, which oversees charter applications throughout the state. While the Mississippi Charter Board is preferable to district authorizers, multiple authorizers would lead to a healthier charter school sector—one that is more robust and less likely to rely on heavy regulation.
- Mississippi earns 3 out of 15 for “growth.” Mississippi caps the number of charter schools that can be authorized at 15 new charters per year, and operators can only establish charters in communities where the district schools are low performing. These rules, combined with heavy regulation from the state’s only authorizer, has led to negligible growth in the charter sector.
- Mississippi earns 9 of 20 points for “operations.” Charter schools in Mississippi are exempt from some but not all laws and regulations that apply to traditional schools. They are also their own local education authorities. However, schools are required to follow several regulations
on issues such as discipline and curriculum, which limits their autonomy to use innovative models. Additionally, three years after a school is approved, the law requires that 100 percent of its teachers be traditionally certified. This prevents operators from assembling the staffs they desire.
- Mississippi earns 4 of 15 points 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 state directs each school’s proportionate share of funds from federal and state categorical funds 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.
Teacher Quality Score: 75%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D+
Expanding the Pool of Teachers B
Identifying Effective Teachers C+
Retaining Effective Teachers F
Exiting Ineffective Teachers F
Overall State Grade C