“Providing a Prescription of School Choice to Improve Mississippi’s K-12 Educational System: A Dose of Education Savings Accounts Mixed with Charter Schools and Private School Vouchers”

Bennett, Eric (2016) “Providing a Prescription of School Choice to Improve Mississippi’s K-12 Educational System: A Dose of Education Savings Accounts Mixed with Charter Schools and Private School Vouchers”. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of Jonathan Winburn from Political Science, University of Mississippi.

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This thesis investigates the research surrounding school choice programs, such as charter schools, private school vouchers, and education savings accounts (ESAs). My research investigates academic effects, fiscal effects, impact upon low-income and minority students, parental involvement and satisfaction, and public opinion of school choice programs. The ultimate goal of this thesis is to answer my central research question of, “What is the ideal school choice picture for Mississippi,” with two goals in mind: 1.) To “rescue” children currently trapped within underperforming schools without the means to transfer to a higher quality school. 2.) To “reform” the K-12 educational system in Mississippi by creating more quality alternatives, providing fiscal savings that can be reinvested into traditional public schools, and to help provide low-income and minority families with the means to choose the best educational route that will prepare their children to become educated and productive members of society. My research focuses on existing sources and investigates the findings of various school choice studies to discover the effects of various programs. I also interviewed the Senate and House chairs of Mississippi’s Education Committees as well as staffers from two school choice foundations located in Mississippi. Attempts to interview school choice opponents in Mississippi were unsuccessful. My research shows that while academic results for school choice programs are often mixed, there does exist significant evidence of improvements for both low-income and minority students. The research also shows nearly universal fiscal savings for states as well as increased parental satisfaction, parental involvement, and public support for school choice programs. Finally, my conclusion is that school choice programs will not solve Mississippi’s continuing educational woes, but they provide an opportunity to help struggling students as well as provide one avenue of reform that can help improve Mississippi’s K-12 educational system. The conclusion of this thesis proposes that Mississippi continue expanding its charter school program while also expanding its special-needs ESA program to cover all K-12 students to provide a private school voucher component as well as funds that can be used to cover any educational expense including tutoring, therapy, online courses, or college savings.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Education, Education Reform, School Choice, Mississippi, Charter Schools, Private School Vouchers, Vouchers, Education Savings Accounts, ESAs, Politics, Political Science, Public Policy
Creators: Bennett, Eric
Student's Degree Program(s): B.A. in Public Policy Leadership and Political Science
Thesis Advisor: Jonathan Winburn
Thesis Advisor's Department: Political Science
Institution: University of Mississippi
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Depositing User: Eric Bennett
Date Deposited: 12 May 2016 18:36
Last Modified: 12 May 2016 18:36
URI: http://thesis.honors.olemiss.edu/id/eprint/521

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