During Tuesday’s legislative action, the Senate passed HB 890, the “Mississippi Education Works Program”. This bill was crafted by the Governor’s office, and was introduced by House Ed Chair John Moore.
The omnibus education bill includes (1) entry requirements for teacher prep programs, (2) a new teacher scholarship program, (3) compulsory school attendance for Kindergarten, (4) process for creating conversion and new-start charter schools, and (5) new requirements for high schools with graduation rates below 80%.
The bill was passed with the following amendments:
- “New Start Schools” section eliminated – Deleted section would’ve allowed MDE to take over and/or re-start “F” schools if they failed to earn “C” status in two years.
- Phased-In Requirements for Teacher Prep Programs – The bill still requires aspiring teachers to have a 21 on the ACT and a 3.0 GPA in pre-major course work being admitted to a teacher prep program. But under the new phased-in process, 60% of student must meet this requirement during the 2015-16 academic year, 70% in 2016-17, and 80% in 2017-18.
HB890 is currently being held on a motion to reconsider, which would require a re-vote on the legislation if approved. It appears very likely that senators will send this amended bill back to the House, where representatives will vote to either…
- Concur with the Senate’s changes and send the bill to the Governor, or…
- Invite a conference committee to be appointed to work out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
It is unclear if this bill, or the stand-alone House and Senate charter bills, will become the vehicle for charter school legislation. We will continue to track all three bills on our Charter Schools Resource Page.