Election Results May Affect Policy Goals
In terms of legislative politics, the most dramatic result of the elections took place in the State House of Representatives, where Republicans will likely have the majority for the first time since Reconstruction.This will also mark the first time in as many years that Republicans will have control of Mississippi’s entire legislative process. According to news sources, the House GOP caucus met and have selected Rep. Phillip Gunn as their preferred candidate for Speaker of the House.
While it’s impossible to say with total certainty how a GOP House and Senate will affect MSF’s policy goals, some important assumptions can be made. We can assume (with near certainty) that a stronger charter school bill will make it to the governor’s desk. We can also assume that it will be more difficult to make changes to the sex education law that went in effect this year. Yet while it’s safe to assume that universal pre-K will be a non-starter - as it appeared to be under a Democratic House - perhaps there’s hope that a collaborative delivery model for pre-K can gain some traction. While some dramatic changes are sure to come, the true impact of Election 2011 on our efforts is still an unwritten story.
Rachel and Sanford Discuss CHART and Pre-K
Click on the links below to read/listen to articles featuring MSF staff members:
Clarion Ledger (10/9): Sex ed called right step
Clarion Ledger (10/9): Pre-K: State has chance for funds
MS Public Broadcasting: Parents Looking at Options for New Sex Education Plans
MS Public Broadcasting: Delta Schools Likely to Follow Health Dept. in Adopting Abstinence Plus
The Clarksdale Municipal School District has become the 5th school district to adopt the CHART Abstinence-Plus Policy. CMSD is also the second district to adopt from Coahoma County, which is one of five counties that meets each of our five sexual health indicators.
In the coming months, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) will assist the district in selecting evidence-based curricula. MSDH will also provide teacher training, technical assistance, and data gathering. And all of this will be provided to the district at no cost!
More districts are expected to take up the policy in the coming weeks. Check mississippifirst.org for updates.
Add the Coahoma County School District to the list of districts that have adopted the CHART policy! I actually received word of the districts decision this week, during a meeting where I was planning on convincing Supt. Pauline Rhodes to send the policy to the Board. I was scheduled to present the policy to the district's board in June, but I had to cancel the presentation (my daughter was born the week before). Unbeknownst to me, the Board did a first reading of the policy anyway, and voted to approve it July 5th.
Since Coahoma County is one of our highest priorities for the CHART policy, this was a very pleasant surprise! With the county school district now on board, the Clarksdale Municipal School District will take up the policy this month. I'll keep you updated on their progress.
On Tuesday, Mississippians will go to the polls for the primary elections. One of the most important primary races is for Lt. Governor, where Senator Billy Hewes is facing State Treasurer Tate Reeves for the Republican nomination. Since there are no Democratic candidates for this position, the winner of the GOP Primary will certain to be the next Lt. Governor.
As the “President of the Senate”, the Lt. Governor is very powerful in our state government. Along with appointing committee chairs, the fate of legislation often depends on the actions of the Lt. Governor. As such, ongoing efforts to create state-funded pre-K, along with making important changes to recent charter school and sex education laws, will ride heavily on the decisions made by the candidate that wins Tuesday’s primary.
So where do these candidates stand on issues of importance to MSF? A quick look at their websites gives us a few clues:
A few clicks on the Hewes website lead me to his Game Plan for Mississippi. Here’s what his plan says about Education.
The Reeves website focuses heavily on his record as State Treasurer and his fiscal priorities, but lacks information about his priorities for education and other policy issues. Based on recent interviews, including the short WAPT debate he had with Hewes and The Neshoba County Fair, we can identify some of his views on education issues.
- Supports school consolidation, but would “leave alone” districts that are efficient and/or high-performing
- Supports “putting more money into the classroom” by eliminating some district-level and school-level administrative positions.
- Believed that Mississippi should focus on improving the academic performance of the upper 25% of students.
Don’t forget to vote!