Oleta Fitzgerald, the director at the Children's Defense Fund's southern regional office, said charter schools are not going to impact the large number of children that the state needs to reach in order to increase opportunity for children in Mississippi.
organization will continue to focus on the children in underfunded public schools that lack resources in their classrooms.
Mississippi's charter law mandates that charter schools cannot be governed or operated by for-profit companies, but public-school and youth advocates have long critiqued the business of charter schools in both nonprofit and for-profit settings, which have seen mixed outcomes.
"When the legislation was being proposed, we thought that the charter bill should have covered all school (districts), but one of the reasons we think it didn't happen and one of the reasons you don't have a great influx of charters here is that there's no money in it," Fitzgerald
Charters in Mississippi are governed by nonprofit organizations, and Mississippi's charter law has made it more difficult to monetize charter schools as a business here since for-profits are boxed out.
In other parts of the country without a stringent law, the privatization of education has run rampant, like in New Orleans where the majority of schools in the system have been "charterized.
said for-profit charter organizations target high-performing school districts so that they can draw from the high taxpayer base that exists in more affluent communities.
doesn't think the charter schools in Mississippi are opening for financial gain, but she
maintains that charters can be just one tool in the toolbox for education in the state.
said with the poverty levels and low access to early education in the state, a lot of work has to be done outside the charter-school movement.
"The early childhood access we currently have reaches only half of the student population; only 20,000 (students) are in early childcare.
Unless we start there, the rest of this stuff is just sticking our head in the sand," she said.