Emphasis on funding schools

Published 12:00 pm Monday, January 25, 2016

This week is school choice week in Mississippi.

School choice, for those of you who do not know, is the option to get your child into a pool of students where if your number is drawn, you can pick the school your child attends. Whether it is a public school in a different district than where you live, or it is a private school but federal funding pays your tuition much like it would for public school.

There are 85 events planned across the state for school choice awareness, including a rally on the capital steps in Jackson tomorrow. Some of the other events include policy discussions, informational sessions and video screenings.

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“School Choice Week provides families in Mississippi with the opportunity to research and evaluate the K-12 school choices available for their children in advance of the 2016-2017 school year,” said Andrew R. Campanella, president of National School Choice Week. “The Week also raises awareness of the importance of providing every child with effective education options.”

If we are speaking generically about school choice being the option to send your child to public, private or home-school him or her, I’m all in for the conversation. And, I do think those options should always be on the table.

However, if our public schools were up to par across the board we would not need a school choice’s voucher system. All the individuals and policymakers who are putting effort into rallying for this should look instead at making sure our districts have enough money and are using it properly so that even the brightest student at each public school is challenged and can take a collegiate-level course if they are ready to.

Moving children around with a voucher system helps those individual children and makes those left behind suffer. Until we ensure that each and every student has the tools for success, our 240,000 children in Mississippi living in poverty don’t even have a chance for success and the cycle of poverty will continue for generations to come.

Stephanie Rebman is editor of The Oxford Eagle. Contact her at stephanie.rebman@oxfordeagle.com.