With the expected addition of charter schools to Mississippi's educational system, some parents are left wondering what they are. Senate education committee chairman Gray Tollison says beyond what they are, they'll provide a competitive option for education.
"The Concept of a public charter schools is just to provide and bring some innovation into our public school system," said Sen. Tollison, a republican from Oxford.
While a charter school is in fact a public school, there are some differences. A state board would have to authorize charter schools to establish themselves through a contract. That contract would give charter schools flexibility in determining how to meet student needs and lay out the goals of the school.
"In essence, it's a guarantee that this school will teach kids well or they close," said Forest Thigpen with the Mississippi Center for Public Policy.
Thigpen says in exchange for that flexibility, charter schools are held to a high level of accountability and achievement. Charters have the same testing, audit and civil rights requirements as traditional schools and can not charge tuition to attend. They can not reject students and if too many students apply, there must be a lottery.
"If a community and parents and students want it, this gives them an option if they're not happy with their current school system," said Sen. Tollison.
A charter school would not replace a current school and they'll be funded just like traditional schools. The money the state spends on each child would follow that child to the school of their choice. Thigpen says while there may be some misunderstandings about what a charter school is, they're certainly not a new concept. Forty one states already have charter school laws. Nearly two million students are enrolled in about 6,000 charter schools across the country.
"In states that have had charter schools for a while, a lot of people still don't understand what they are because they're a little bit different," said Thigpen.
Under current house and senate bills, a private school would not be able to convert to a charter.
The current house bill goes as far as only allowing 15 charter schools to open a year.
Sunday, May 19 2013 5:35 PM EDT2013-05-19 21:35:57 GMT
A body discovered in Clinton Saturday night has led to a homicide investigation. Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham Stewart confirms a body was discovered, although few other details are known. The bodyMore >>
Clinton Police Department's Interim Chief Mike Warren said upon further investigation, it appears an disagreement over a woman may have led to the death of a Jackson man.
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:00 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:00:02 GMT
Observers are predicting a speedy confirmation to the federal bench for Jackson attorney Debra M. Brown. If confirmed, Brown would become the state's first black female district judge. Carl Tobias, aMore >>
Observers are predicting a speedy confirmation to the federal bench for Jackson attorney Debra M. Brown.More >>
It's all about the odds, and one lone ticket in Florida has beaten them all by matching each of the numbers drawn for the highest Powerball jackpot in history at an estimated $590.5 million, lottery officials...More >>
Some lucky person walked into a Publix supermarket in suburban Florida over the past few days and bought a ticket now worth an estimated $590.5 million - the highest Powerball jackpot in history.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >>
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >>
Thursday, May 16 2013 7:38 AM EDT2013-05-16 11:38:49 GMT
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - An Army wife who lost over 100 pounds while her husband was away in Afghanistan surprised the soldier Wednesday when he arrived at Wilmington International Airport. Misty Shaffer,More >>
A soldier from Wilmington returns from Afghanistan to a big surprise: a new wife, a new house and a different child.More >>
Inmates at jails in Indianapolis, Baltimore, St. Louis and Philadelphia face the nation's highest levels of sexual abuse at the hands of guards, according to a new federal report based on surveys of inmates at...More >>
Inmates at jails in Indianapolis, Baltimore, St. Louis and Philadelphia face the nation's highest levels of sexual abuse at the hands of guards, according to a new federal report based on surveys of inmates at U.S. jails.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 8:20 PM EDT2013-05-19 00:20:30 GMT
An accident combined with interstate roadwork causes headaches for motorists Saturday afternoon in Rankin county. Traffic was practically brought to a standstill on I-20 in Pearl at the Airport Road exitMore >>
An accident combined with interstate roadwork causes headaches for motorists Saturday afternoon in Rankin County.More >>
WLBT 3 - Fox 40
715 South Jefferson Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39201