Education has been in the news and on the minds of many Mississippians the past few weeks.
Advocates, educators, legislators and the governor have toured schools, hosted forums and advanced a range of ideas and agendas on public education — and the funding of it — at events across the state.
The critical issue, of course, is how to pay for the schools and staff which are vital to the future of our children, as well as a robust economy, thriving communities and a higher quality of life. This situation is not new, nor is it likely to be resolved easily. It’s complicated and increasingly divisive, but it remains the single most important issue that we face as a state.
And while plenty of folks are talking about how important education is, two of Mississippi’s finest are doing something about it. Former Gov. William Winter and Tupelo businessman Jack Reed have been telling educational leaders during a statewide campaign to create awareness of what’s at stake if the education budget is slashed.
A petition drive to garner signatures of 100,000 Mississippi voters who support fully funding Mississippi Adequate Education Program has been so successful that Winter and Reed have a new target: 200,000 signatures.
“I’m delighted to see other people are picking up on it, and that the Legislature is feeling some pressure,” Reed says.
In January, Winter and Reed plan to present the petition to state lawmakers, along with an updated report.
We hope that a majority of legislators get the message on education, and encourage the Mississippi business community to help hammer it home.