MS earns "C" on new education policy ranking and scorecard

Published: Aug. 28, 2014 at 6:29 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2014 at 3:03 AM CDT
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This is a news release from The Center for Educational Reform

Mississippi is one of seven states to earn a "C" on a new ranking and analysis from the Center for Education Reform (CER), School Choice Today: Voucher Laws Across the States Ranking & Scorecard 2014, released today.

The first of its kind, the Voucher Laws Across the States Ranking & Scorecard 2014 is an in-depth analysis and state-by-state comparison of the over two-dosen voucher programs currently in existence today.

Mississippi restricts voucher offerings to students with just two specific types of disabilities, dyslexia and speech/language issues, making this voucher program the least expensive in the country.

These otherwise well-designed programs would do well to combine and then expand to cover studnets with all types of special needs, in addition to adopting a universal voucher program.

Because of these conditions, Mississippi scores 19 out of 50 total points possible in the 2014 Voucher Laws Across the States Ranking & Scorecard.

"Having a voucher law on the books is a good start, but not enough to make sure students are actually benefitting from school choice programs," said Kara Kerwin, president of the Center for Education Reform.

"Policy design is critical, but the true strength of school choice voucher programs depends heavily on implementation."

"From the types of students eligible to the number of regulations imposed on private schools, each element of a voucher program's design impacts how effectively the vouvher truly empowers parents with the ability to choose the best school for their child," said Brian Backstrom, Senior Policy Advisor to the Center for Education Reform and author of the report.

CER assesses voucher programs based on four components:

- Students eligibility requirements

- Program design

- Preservation of private school autonomy 

- Student participation 

"Now that we have reliable policy blueprints and visible implementation of strong voucher programs, more state leaders need to step up to the place in order to grow and expand school choice opportunities across the U.S. so more children have access to options that best meet their individual learning needs," said Kerwin.

Kara Kerwin, president of The Center for Educatio Reform, is available for comment on School Choice Today: Voucher Laws Across the States Ranking & Scorecard 2014.

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