Charter School Bill Fails in House Committee

The House Education Committee voted, on Tuesday, April 3, 2012, to kill a charter school bill that would have brought public school choice to thousands of children across the state. After passing the Senate in February, the House Education Committee defeated Senate Bill 2401, by a vote of 15 to 16.

Forest Thigpen, President of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, expressed disappointment over the bill’s defeat:

“The education establishment has built a Berlin Wall around the current system, to keep their own people from escaping to freedom and opportunity. This battle is far from over. We will continue to call on our legislators to tear down this wall.”

“Today, a handful of legislators voted to sentence countless parents and children to more futility and hopelessness. Even worse, this sentence was handed down by legislators whose districts would not even be affected by this bill. This issue really boils down to one fundamental question: ‘Do you believe parents know what’s best for their children, or do you believe government knows what’s best?'”

“I am encouraged that the Governor has announced his willingness to call a special session, to give the full legislature the opportunity to give parents more options for meeting their children’s needs.”

“I applaud the members who took a courageous stand and voted for the bill, in the face of enormous pressure from the education establishment.”

Members voting for the bill: Tracy Arnold (Booneville), Toby Barker (Hattiesburg), Randy Boyd (Mantachie), Gary Chism (Columbus), Carolyn Crawford (Pass Christian), Becky Currie (Brookhaven), Dennis Debar (Leakesville), Chuck Espy (Clarksdale), Herb Frierson (Poplarville), Jeffrey Guice (Ocean Springs), Rita Martinson (Madison), Brad Mayo (Oxford), Kevin McGee (Rankin County), John Moore (Rankin County), and Joe Warren (Mount Olive).

Legislators voting against allowing Mississippi children to attend a charter school include: Alyce Clarke (Jackson), Nick Bain (Corinth), Clara Burnett (Tunica), Credell Calhoun (Jackson), Reecy Dickson (Macon), James Evans (Jackson), Joe Gardner (Batesville), Forrest Hamilton (DeSoto County), Gregory Holloway (Hazlehurst), Wanda Jennings (DeSoto County), Steve Massengill (Hickory Flat), Pat Nelson (DeSoto County), Rufus Straughter (Belzoni), Sara R. Thomas (Indianola), Tom Weathersby (Rankin County), Linda Whittington (Schlater).

Special to The Real Story

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