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Governor pushes for more school choice
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Governor Phil Bryant wants Mississippi to increase school choice.
AP Photo

The governor is vowing to give more Mississippi parents the option to choose where their children go to school. MPB's Alexis Ware reports.

Governor Phil Bryant wants to increase opportunities for school choice in Mississippi. He says previous efforts that expanded choice for special needs students put Mississippi on the right track. The governor contends where a child is educated should be up to parents. 

"Mothers and fathers of their children need to be able to determine where they want to send their child to school. I don't understand why this is such a difficult issue to accept parents have some authority of their children's future and the most important part of that is where they go to school." 

In other states, school choice means parents could send their children to charter schools or receive vouchers to attend private schools. 

Grant Callen is the founder of Empower Mississippi. He agrees with the governor. 

"The only way we can make sure a student is matched to the best educational setting for that child is to make sure somebody who knows that child better than anybody else has the ability to move that child to a better setting if the one setting their in is not the right fit." 

Three proposed charter schools are in the final stage of the application process. If they are approved the number of charter schools in the state will double. 

Democratic State Representative Jarvis Dortch says charter schools take money away from traditional public schools. 

Dortch says a better solution is to use school funding to improve the quality of traditional public schools across the state. 

"You're bleeding money out of the school district for just a few students so you're really left with a situation where the school district is having to do so much more with less because they're losing money to the charter schools. 

Dortch says a better solution is to use school funding to improve the quality of traditional public schools across the state.