Last week President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law, replacing No Child Left Behind as the latest version of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act. With any bill of this size and scope it defies easy description, and as one would expect given the political climate in Washington, DC, ESSA is a decidedly mixed law with the potential for both positive and negative effects.
Fair and Just School Resources
On November 3, 2015, a tight race to achieve full funding of public schools across Mississippi was lost. Initiative 42, the ballot initiative for “better schools,” was a citizen-led campaign with bipartisan, grassroots support for fully funded public schools. Nearly 200,000 Mississippians from across the state signed a petition to place Initiative 42 on the ballot.
Mississippi's public schools have been underfunded and under-performing for years. Their students, especially in the state's poorer districts, face inequitable learning environments and lack the real opportunity to learn that could help encourage their future successes. Despite these very real problems, however, Tuesday's election failed in passing Initiative 42, a proposed constitutional amendment that would have required adequate and efficient funding of the state's public schools.