By The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss
JACKSON, Miss. —
All last fall, state leaders touted this legislative session as the “Education Session.”
Recently, they delivered on this promise.
While charter schools have been the main focus, most leaders agree charter schools will take several years to have an impact and that they needed to take action that could show immediate results.
Gov. Phil Bryant proposed an aggressive and wide-reaching education plan. While he pushed for an omnibus bill that would include all of his proposals, he has wisely worked with lawmakers to create a bill with the core proposals that have the most support in both the House and Senate. Doing so means other more controversial measures or those proposals with narrower support can be debated independently.
Lawmakers seem poised to approve measures that would:
— Require students in third grade to pass a reading proficiency test before passing to fourth grade.
— Increase admission standards for teacher education programs.
— Provide substantial scholarships for the highest-performing students in teacher education programs and full scholarships for those highest-performing students who give five years of service in Mississippi public schools.
— Increase funding for public-private partnerships that will expand the early childhood education programs throughout the state.
— Tighten reporting requirements for schools to ensure that data used in the Mississippi Adequate Education Program funding formula is more accurate.
These measures may not be as high-profile as charter schools, but they are arguably more important and impactful. If lawmakers pass this legislation, then they — along with the governor — will have succeeded in leaving a transformative mark on Mississippi’s public education system.
Furthermore, these are all good measures that should meet little resistance. They are simply commonsense proposals grounded in sound education policy. ...
While nothing has yet become law, we are excited about the education reform that appears to be headed that way. If Bryant gets the chance to sign legislation described above, it will be a great day for the schoolchildren of Mississippi.