Good public schools matter. In fact, they matter a great deal. But in Mississippi, we have a history of treating public education rather shabbily.
To be sure, there are excellent school districts in communities around our state. However, those success stories often have more to do with the grit and determination of local administrators and teachers, school board members and dedicated parents. Adequate funding, even in the best of schools, remains elusive year to year.
Enter the Legislature.
As sessions come and go, an exhaustive amount of time and energy is spent on the rhetoric of education. Rarely does that rhetoric lead to results. A handful of legislators understand the importance of adequate, early funding, but this year, those voices have been left alone, crying in the wilderness.
Their calls are falling on deaf ears, and that is a shame.
The stakes are much too high for us to keep playing politics with public education funding. Whatever the level – K-12, two-year or four-year colleges and universities – good schools cost money, but Mississippi must make the investment. The state`s business community has a responsibility to see that it happens.
Want to hear the real skinny on the situation? Talk to your local superintendent, principal or child`s teacher. Ask them about the programs and positions that will be slashed if their budgets are cut.
It`s been said before, but here we go again: we must adopt an education budget which serves the students of Mississippi instead of one merely satisfying shallow campaign promises, a narrow-minded ideological framework or disingenuous personal agendas.
It`s the right thing to do, and bottom line – it`s good for business.