Some national education reform advocates are joining the fight to pass a school funding amendment in Mississippi. The supporters of Initiative 42 say the proposal is in the best interest of Mississippi's school children.
Public education advocates have been furiously campaigning across the state in an effort to bolster support for a school funding amendment known as Initiative 42. The proposal, which will appear on the November ballot, would, in theory, force lawmakers to fully fund the state's school system by allowing residents to sue if schools are short-funded.
But opponents of the initiative have argued that the proposal is really just attempt to remove power from the legislature in favor of a judge in Hinds County. Joe Nosef is the Chair of the Mississippi Republican Party.
"This doesn't have anything to do with education policy," says Nosef. "This is all about lawsuits, right? You see it now. There are I don't know how many, but it seems like another one every day. That's what we're going to have if this passes."
Supporters of the proposal say that argument is invalid. David Sciarra is the director of the Education Law Center -- a national group that has litigated school funding cases in other states. He says the passage of Initiative 42 would only hold lawmakers accountable if they fail to follow the law.
"The legislature's core, fundamental responsibility to ensure all Mississippi school children are properly educated requires that there be some qualitative standard that the legislature can be accountable." Sciarra says. "Frankly, I think the legislature should support it because they need to recognize that they need to be held accountable."
Mississippi spends the fifth lowest amount on education per student in the nation.