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Earlier this month, the Mississippi legislature allowed two bills to die that would have revamped the state’s school funding. Those bills were controversial and received much of the attention surrounding education legislation this year. But there are still several education bills alive that have passed either the House or Senate and have a chance of making it to the governor. Here’s a look at some of those bills:
- The ABLE Act, which would create a flexible spending account to help individuals with disabilities pay for certain expenses, was referred to the Senate Finance Committee last
- House Bill No. 263 would require school districts to specify bullying behavior in anti-bullying policy and publish the procedure for reporting bullying on their website.
- Students will be allowed to drink bottled water on the school bus if House Bill No. 348, which passed the House earlier this month, passes the Senate.
- House Bill No. 466 defines when school districts under conservatorship can come out of that status. If the bill is signed into law, school districts would remain under control of a conservator for seven years, or until they receive a “C” rating by the state for three years in a row. (I examined Mississippi’s policies on state takeovers for this 2014 article and found that not only is it difficult to take over failing districts, especially in rural areas, but Mississippi has struggled in the past to determine when to pull out of districts. In the wake of conservatorships, many Mississippi districts struggle with academic performance and see test scores drop.)
- House Bill No. 544 would allow individuals to earn a teaching license if they have an advanced degree and receive a passing score on national teaching assessments.
- Students would be required to attend school until 18 years of age under House Bill No. 567, which passed the House last week. Currently, students are required to attend school until age 17.
- School districts would throw out the current educator evaluation system, known as “M-STAR” and adopt a new system, chosen by the local school board, if House Bill No. 1227 is passed by the Senate and signed into law.