It’s a busy (code word for nice weather to play outside) Monday. But I do have enough time to run around inside and celebrate some very promising news out of Mississippi. Big news… yes, very promising news… in Mississippi? You betcha.
First, a quick reminder for those who may not be up to speed. The most cutting-edge of cutting-edge school choice programs in America is Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts:
What’s neat about the ESA concept (described as #EdDebitCard, for fellow Twitter users) is that it funds students directly, but with greater flexibility than a traditional voucher. The assigned dollars for non-public school students who opt to participate can be used like a voucher to purchase private school tuition, or it can be used to purchase a combination of educational expenses — such as tutoring, therapies, or curriculum materials.
So could the Magnolia State make the jump from having nothing but a weak charter school law and the very tiny Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship Program to being the second state in the union to give the families of special-needs students the ultimate in educational choice?
I guess we just have to wait for a governor’s signature to find out. Both the Mississippi state house and senate have passed legislation that would adopt the “innovative new education model that empowers parents to customize their child’s education needs.” The American Federation for Children explains how an ESA could benefit Mississippi families in the same way Arizona’s program has helped Anita Belcher’s family.
The Foundation for Excellence in Education is equally enthusiastic, noting:
Mississippi lawmakers are on track to provide moms and dads of special needs students with the financial freedom to select the best learning environment for their children.
Matt Ladner put it more succinctly: “!!!BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!”
Or maybe that’s just the sound of the door slamming behind me as I run outside to enjoy a beautiful day and to celebrate the promise of educational hope for Mississippi families!