A three-year fight ended successfully this year when the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of charter school funding in Mississippi. Since 2016, Mississippi First has been quarterbacking the efforts of advocates to defend the law, including arranging for defendant-interveners and providing support to the legal defense teams. This positive outcome means the 1,750-plus children receiving their public education from one of the (now) six public charter schools in Mississippi can continue to attend their chosen public school. The ruling also unequivocally affirms what Mississippi First has said all along: public education dollars belong to public school children for their public education. Charter schools in Mississippi are public schools, and funding charter schools is funding public schools.
Strategic Plan: The Future
Top Publication: Pre-K Briefing Book
This year, Mississippi First developed a definitive briefing book on state-funded pre-K in Mississippi. The original impetus for this book was to educate aspiring elected officials about the program and to encourage their support. Along with the book, Mississippi First offered briefings to candidates for the top state offices (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General) as well as the current chairs of legislative education committees. As a result of these briefings, all of the candidates added expansion of the state program to their platforms! We have also been able to use the book with legislative candidates and to give the book to other interested parties, such as potential donors and the media, to share the information more broadly.