Hundreds of school choice supporters filled the State Capitol yesterday as part of National School Choice Week.
Grant Callen is with Empower Mississippi - a nonprofit dedicated to school choice. He says as a parent himself, he wants the best educational setting for his children.
"It's great! We simply need to expand this opportunity and others so that more kids have this opportunity. There's studies galore showing it helps not only the kids who leave, but the kids who stay behind. So, that's our goal. If this helped kids and hurt schools, we wouldn't support it," says Callen.
The National Executive Director of Parents for Public Schools, Catherine Cushinberry, says she questions what will happen to the schools once children start leaving them.
"How then, do we figure out how to compensate to replenish those resources so that children and their families can be sure that they're getting the highest quality education, and the best experience that they can?" says Cushinberry.
Cushinberry says her biggest concern is that funding will be redirected away from the public schools.
Governor Phil Bryant says more school options will lead to more competition, and competition makes everyone stronger. He also says he hopes to direct a portion of the budget to help underperforming schools.
"What we've got to do is put competition in those schools. I think we must demand a higher level of productivity and outcomes in every school district. Because those schools are failing, it does not mean we should punish the children by making them stay there," says Bryant.
The Governor says he wants to direct $15 million of the state budget to provide teaching coaches and training to public schools across the state. Bryant also says new charter school legislation is expected, along with bills to rethink how to select school superintendents.