Two large issues
for charter schools
The Mississippi Supreme Court this week cleared the way for charter schools to continue operating in the state, ruling that using local property taxes to pay for the schools is constitutional.
Charter school critics contended these payments violated the state Constitution by forcing public school districts to share tax revenue with schools that it did not control.
A majority of the court disagreed. But funding is not the biggest problem facing charter schools in Mississippi.
The larger issues are figuring out how to get more charters opened in the rural areas that could benefit from them, and then getting the test scores of charter students measurably higher than children in public schools.
Right now Mississippi has six charter schools, five in Jackson and one in Clarksdale. The state board that supervises the schools has rejected a number of other applicants, including several from small towns. The board is right to be selective, putting the burden where it belongs — on those who want to open schools.
As for test scores, most charter schools are average or below average. Their goal of helping children who most need it has not been met.
Jack Ryan, Enterprise-Journal
Emily Wagster Pettus, a longtime reporter in Jackson for The Associated Press, noted this week some visual staples that viewers can expect to see on the ads that Mississippi candidates will run on TV between now and the general election.
Except when the candidates are maligning their opponent, watch the screens for loyal spouses, cute kids and favorite hunting dogs, says Wagster Pettus.
Here’s what you won’t see: cats.
That because felines, says Wagster Pettus, “can rarely be bothered to turn to the camera on cue.”
That is a problem, but only if you are shooting video. In print ads, cats do just fine.
Editor and Publisher
Names will surface
The desire of law enforcement officials to not give notoriety to mass killers is understandable. You don’t want to reward the murderers with the publicity they might have been seeking, nor do you want to encourage copycats who might have the same twisted idea of going out in a blaze of carnage.
Still, it’s counterproductive to try to withhold the names of the killers, since that only fuels an appetite to learn who they are. Once the information comes out, which is inevitable, the name goes viral on the internet, and the chase begins by journalists and others to track down as much as they can about the killer’s background and possible motivation — creating more publicity than might have otherwise occurred.
It’s not just a morbid curiosity in human beings to know about these killers. The public has a legitimate interest in trying to understand what makes them tick, so that the potential warning signs can be spotted in others before it’s too late.
Editor and Publisher