Legislative Update | Bills to Watch

BILLS TO WATCH | We’ve got some exciting pieces of legislation making their way to the education committees in both the House and Senate that rethink how we tackle the systemic issues plaguing public education in Mississippi.

As always, it’s a long road before these bills become law, and that’s why we need you! It is your tireless support and advocacy that will get these bills through committee, to the House and Senate floors, and on their way to the governor’s desk.

Students are at the center of everything we do, and while some of these bills speak directly to students’ needs, everything we support—even legislation that seems to only affect educators—helps ensure that every Mississippi student has access to the quality public school education they deserve. No student’s success should be left up to chance, and that’s why we need you in this fight with us.  

COMMUNITY SCHOOLS: HB 1139, SB 2576 | This bill would seek to amend the Districts of Innovation legislation to pave the way for Mississippi schools to become community schools. In addition to HB 1139 and SB 2576, there are several other community schools bills in committee. We’re excited to see so much support for bringing this innovative, transformative education model to public schools in our state.

A community school is at the center of the community—open all day, every day, to everyone—that brings together academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement under one roof, leading to improved learning, stronger families, and healthier communities.

Utilizing community assets such as partnerships with local organizations and agencies, a community school identifies what students, families, and communities need to succeed.

Community schools are more than just wraparound services provided to individual students in need. Rather, community schools use strategic, results-focused partnerships to improve a wide range of outcomes. More on community schools here.

TRAUMA-INFORMED SCHOOLS: HB 1132, SB 2580 | This bill seeks to standardize professional CEUs around trauma-informed practices, create a policy working group intended to help school districts develop community-specific best practices around trauma, and equip educators and districts with the tools they need to identify ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and manage students impacted by trauma in the classroom and beyond.

Similar to other child and family-serving organizations, being trauma-informed in schools means being informed about and sensitive to trauma, and providing a safe, stable, and understanding environment for students and staff. A primary goal is to prevent re-injury or re-traumatization by acknowledging trauma and its triggers, and avoiding stigmatizing and punishing students.

More on trauma-informed schools here.

EXPANSION OF TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: HB 994, SB 2511 | These bills seek to adapt teacher education program entry requirements and expand access to students enrolled in Mississippi’s four-year colleges and universities. With a certified teacher shortage crisis, it is imperative that we ensure Mississippi students with a desire to teach are provided with that opportunity. SB 2511 passed out of the Senate Education Committee today.

COMPULSORY KINDERGARTEN | We know that early childhood development and learning gives children the solid foundation they need to reach their highest potential and that’s why we’re thrilled to see several compulsory kindergarten bills be referred to the education committees.

There’s more information coming your way on this legislation as well as the House’s anticipated teacher pay raise bill and more. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with what’s happening at the Capitol and here at MAE!