School choice in Mississippi: giving parents the power

With the legislative session set to begin next week, many legislators say that education will be a big ticket item on the docket.

Grant Callen with Empower Mississippi said that one of the ways parents can see their children succeed is to become a part of their education.

“If a child is not being served well in a public school, they can opt out of public school and receive a scholarship account in the amount of $6,500 that can go toward a private school, or therapy or other educational services,” said Grant Callen with Empower Mississippi.

Callen said that when it comes to charter schools there are two directions that parents can go in.

Right now, state law allows for parents to take their children across school district lines to a charter school, if the school district where they live is failing. However, there are only a handful of charter schools in Mississippi, and they’re in Jackson.

Callen added that the purpose for legislators is clear at this point.

While Callen said that Mississippi has come a long way in charter schools, he said that they still have a long way to go.

“Parents all across our state need to have the ability to create an education that is right for their kids.”

“People are exercising school choice every day,” said Callen. “People are moving into neighborhoods with better schools, because they want a great education for their kids, they are paying for a private education, they are homeschooling their children, but most of those options are not practical for families who don’t have some kind of financial resources.”