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When will Mississippi see school choice?


Mississippi is almost surrounded by states that have school choice.  Why don’t we? 

Last week Governor Jeff Landry of Louisiana signed into law the Gator Scholarship program.  From 2025, Louisiana families can receive state funds to pay for educational expenses to meet their child’s individual needs. 
Alabama passed similar legislation a few months ago.  Arkansas did something similar in 2023.
In Mississippi, nothing.  Why?
It is not as if Mississippi doesn’t have a conservative majority.  Conservatives have been in charge of the Mississippi House, Senate and Governor’s mansion since 2012. 
Conservatives in Alabama and Arkansas have had control for about the same length of time as in our state.  Somehow, they seem to have done something with it.

Louisiana conservatives have achieved more school choice in 12 months than Mississippi conservatives have managed in 12 years.  Gov Landry only won back the Governor’s Mansion last year and he signed school choice into law last week. 

A major part of the problem is that many leaders in Mississippi refuse to see the need for reform.  They want to believe that education standards are improving and that there’s just not much need to change.
Here’s why they are wrong:

  • 1 in 4 school children in our state are chronically absent.  That’s 108,310 children in 2022-23, up dramatically from 70,275 in 2016-17.  If Mississippi education is as good as they say it is, why are so many kids not showing up? 
  • 8 out of 10 eighth grade kids in Mississippi were not proficient in math in 2022.  
  • Almost 7 in 10 fourth grade kids in Mississippi were not proficient in reading in 2022.

How many Mississippi politicians would be willing to send their kids to a school with those standards? 

  • Almost 4 in 10 fourth graders in 2022 did not even reach the basic reading standard.  Let’s quit pretending things are fine when our current system is unable to teach ten year olds the basics of reading.

Reform is difficult.  If you are a conservative, overhauling anything involving the public sector means stirring up a hornet’s nest of opposition.  It’s easier to buddy up to the absurdly misnamed “Parent’s Campaign” and defend the status quo.  I get all that.
Here’s why Mississippi conservatives absolutely have to use the majority they have to achieve school choice. 
Over the past thirty years, we have seen the ideological takeover of much of America by the far left.  If you had told me at the time of the Iraq war or even when Obama was in the White House that American students would be protesting in support of Hamas in 2024, I would not have believed you.  Today it happens frequently.
A generation ago, corporate America did not demand to know your preferred pronouns.  Today you can hardly apply for a job at a big firm without doing so.  Where do you think this ideological extremism came from?  It has been made possible by the influence of critical theory ideologues on our education system.

Of course, not every school is a hotbed of ‘woke’ intersectional ideology.  But the only way to stop the advance of ‘woke’ ideology in America is to give parents back control over their child’s education.

The lesson of the past 30 years is that unless conservative America has a plan to take back control of the education system, the left will win.  It is not enough to run for office as a conservative because you happen to hunt or have the right bumper stickers on your truck. 

Conservatives in office who do nothing to advance school choice are assisting, however unwittingly, the radical left in their capture of this country.

We cannot afford another decade of wasted opportunities to achieve school choice. 

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