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House speaker looks to reform education, advance school choice in Mississippi

Mississippi lawmakers made history in 2024 by implementing an entirely new funding formula for K-12 education, but House Speaker Jason White says the work isn’t done yet.

The Republican out of West ultimately achieved his goal of eradicating the oft-criticized Mississippi Adequate Education Program and replacing it with the Mississippi School Funding Formula — a model the speaker believes is more student-focused.

White is now looking to turn to another page of public education by pursuing legislation that would hold failing school districts accountable and move forward efforts to bring school choice to the Magnolia State. The speaker contends that the efforts will serve to appease voters’ will and wishes.

“Now we will turn our attention more to the accountability model as well as different forms of school choice for our parents. Folks say, ‘Why do the Republicans keep harping on that?’ Here’s why — because voters are demanding it,” White said on MidDays with Gerard Gibert.

“Somebody’s not sitting around the water cooler at the capitol saying, ‘What can we do next?’ They’re actually hearing from parents, taxpayers, and voters. That’s where these things come from. In spite of what anyone may think, there are no personal agendas in those areas.”

Part of White’s agenda come January is to find a way to reward successful school districts while thoroughly evaluating those that may be failing or underachieving. With the state making record investments in public education in recent years via the new formula and a historic teacher pay raise, the lawmaker is calling for more accountability to match the increased level of funding.

Jason White was elected as Mississippi’s House speaker on Tuesday

Though White was not specific about the measures that would be taken to bring failing districts up to speed with their thriving peers, he did not mention any monetary punishments as a means of sending a message. However, he was deadset that there would be no more excuses for chronically underperforming districts.

“If we’re going to spend plenty of money, let’s be sure we’re spending it wisely and that we’re rewarding the successful [districts] and we’re taking a

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