Mississippi's Governor Race

Candidate Comparison

Jim Hood (D),
Attorney General of Mississippi

Tate Reeves (R),
Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi

This candidate responded to the Southern Education Foundation’s formal request for information regarding their education platform. All information for these comparisons was either sourced from the candidate’s responses to our formal request, the candidate’s website, or from statements the candidate made in articles cited below.

This candidate did not respond to the Southern Education Foundation’s formal request for information regarding their education platform. All information for these comparisons was either sourced from the candidate’s responses to our formal request, the candidate’s website, or from statements the candidate made in articles cited below.

Bio: A fifth-generation Mississippian, Attorney General Jim Hood, was initially elected to his current position in 2003. Prior to serving as Attorney General, Hood clerked at the Mississippi Supreme Court, and served as Assistant Attorney General and as District Attorney for the Third Judicial District. Attorney General Hood is running for Governor of Mississippi to grow the state’s economy, to improve education, and to make health care affordable and accessible.

Bio: As a lifelong Mississippian, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, has focused on lowering taxes, expanding educational opportunities, and growing new careers in Mississippi. Lt. Gov. Reeves was elected as the youngest State Treasurer in Mississippi’s history, and served two terms prior to being elected Lieutenant Governor under Gov. Phil Bryant.

Primary Education Priorities: As Governor of Mississippi, Attorney General Hood plans to advocate for universal Pre-K, increase affordability and accessibility for two- and four-year universities, and support the growth and improvement of public education. In his response to a SEF candidate survey, AG Hood outlined his three main priorities as: fully funding Mississippi’s public schools due to the current trend of spending $3,000 less per pupil than the national average; increase teacher salaries to reach the southeastern average; and address the teacher shortage. In his survey response, AG Hood also expressed a desire to establish a statewide Pre-K program for four-year-old children.  

Primary Education Priorities: As Governor of Mississippi, Lt. Gov. Reeves plans to support school choice programs such as Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). Reeves also supports increasing teacher pay and developing a different rating system for public schools than the one that currently exists. Additionally, Lt. Gov. Reeves passed and continues to support the Third Grade Reading Gate, a test that determines a student’s readiness to move from third grade to fourth grade.

Early Education and Pre-Kindergarten: As Governor of Mississippi, Attorney General Hood plans to advocate for establishing a statewide, universal Pre-K program. Specifically, Attorney General Hood plans to phase in a statewide Pre-K program that uses the state’s existing Early Learning Collaboratives program as a model. In his response to a SEF candidate survey, Attorney General Hood highlighted that $2.5M out of $6.5M in appropriations for a Pre-K program in 2018 were from settlements he recovered as Attorney General.

Early Education and Pre-Kindergarten: Lt. Gov. Reeves’ campaign did not provide a stance on how he plans to promote early childhood education and Pre-K programs.

K-12 Funding: Attorney General Hood supports investing in the improvement of public education. He believes education funding in Mississippi needs to keep up with the inflation rate in the state. Attorney General Hood also believes in increasing per-pupil funding in Mississippi to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) annually. He has also committed to work with legislators to cut waste in state government to fund education. In his response to a SEF candidate survey, Attorney General Hood expressed support for eliminating K-12 funding disparities across the state. He also expressed support for free community college tuition for high school seniors across the state, and funding the administration of industry-recognized workforce certification tests for high school and community college students ready to begin their careers.

K-12 Funding: Lt. Gov. Reeves plans to invest more in the classroom through increasing teacher pay.

Private School Choice: Attorney General Hood does not believe that private schools and charter schools are viable alternatives to properly funding education; however, he is willing to listen to the argument. Additionally, Attorney General Hood believes that legislation regarding vouchers and other methods of private school choice are a distraction from solutions to sufficiently funding public education. In his response to a SEF candidate survey, Attorney General Hood reiterated his support for investing in public schools and said he does not think public money should go to private schools. Attorney General Hood also expressed opposition to virtual and for-profit charter schools in his survey response.

Private School Choice: Lt. Gov. Reeves supported an initiative to allocate $2M into an Education Scholarship Account (ESA) program in Mississippi. Lt. Gov. Reeves also supports expanding mechanisms of private school choice to give families in Mississippi alternatives to public schools and force public schools to compete. Additionally, Lt. Gov. Reeves advocated for creating and using an A-F rating system for schools in the state to make district ratings more transparent.

Community Schools or Wraparound Services: As Attorney General, Jim Hood’s office developed an app that connects students in public schools with support systems for issues they might deal with such as suicide, depression, anxiety, and drug abuse. As Governor of Mississippi, he plans to support efforts such as this that connect the resources of the community in support of teaching and learning and provide students with social and emotional supports through methods that work with children’s technology- driven cultures (SEF candidate survey).

Community Schools or Wraparound Services: Lt. Gov. Reeves’ campaign did not provide a stance on how he plans to increase funding specifically for community schools and wraparound services.

Student Safety and Mental Health: Attorney General Hood supports accepting federal dollars to keep rural hospitals open and expand healthcare access; he believes this type of access will reduce barriers that children and families face and help set children up for success in school. According to his response to a SEF candidate survey, Attorney General Hood also supports training teachers to identify and address mental health and emotional issues, and connecting students and families with professional help when appropriate. In his survey response, Attorney General Hood also expressed his opposition to arming teachers in schools.

Student Safety and Mental Health: Lt. Gov. Reeves’ campaign did not provide a stance on how he plans to promote student safety and increase access to mental health services for students.

Teacher Services and Professional Development: Attorney General Hood supports increasing teacher salaries in Mississippi to reach the southeastern average. Attorney General Hood also believes that retired educators serving in the state legislature should be able to draw their retirement during their term of service. In his response to a SEF candidate survey, Attorney General Hood expressed support for recruiting and retaining teachers in the communities where they grew up and live. He plans to do this by expanding Teacher Academies and Educators Rising programs in high schools, including teaching as a profession in workforce development strategies, and having teacher booths at state career fairs. In his survey response, Attorney General Hood also cited studies that show the tendency for students of color to have higher achievement, graduation rates, and participation in college entrance exams when taught by teachers of color. Attorney General Hood believes that by focusing on recruiting and encouraging students to become teachers in their communities at a young age, Mississippi can diversify its teacher workforce (SEF candidate survey).

Teacher Services and Professional Development: As Governor of Mississippi, Lt. Gov. Reeves plans to make sure teachers make $8,000 more in the first year of his first term; he wants to achieve this by spending more money in the classroom and less money in the district office.

Investments in HBCUs: Attorney General Hood’s campaign did not provide a plan for increasing funding specifically for HBCUs in Mississippi. In his SEF candidate survey, Attorney General Hood stated that HBCUs play an important role in Mississippi in providing college education to some of our neediest students, and he will support increased funding across the board for Mississippi’s public universities.

Investments in HBCUs: Lt. Gov. Reeves’ campaign did not provide a plan for increasing funding specifically for HBCUs in Mississippi.

 

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