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Letter to the editor: Mississippi’s children put at risk by Chris McDaniel’s plan

Letter to the editorI am deeply concerned by media reports of U.S. senatorial candidate Chris McDaniel’s support for abolishing the U.S. Department of Education and eliminating nearly $800 million in federal funding from our Mississippi schools.

I would rather not become a part of any political battle between candidates for office. However, the serious nature of these statements by state Sen. McDaniel leaves me no reasonable choice but to speak up on behalf of the students in our public schools.

As a former school district superintendent, I have been a lifelong proponent of public education. I believe it offers the greatest opportunity for students to succeed in life, and as a result, improve the state’s economy and our quality of life.

The nearly $800 million in federal funds Mississippi receives accounts for 24 percent of the state’s overall education budget. From these funds, the state received more than $117 million in Fiscal Year 2014 and is expected to receive $122 million in Fiscal Year 2015 for special education services in school districts. Additionally, millions of dollars are used for all Title programs, School Improvement Funds, Professional Development, Child Nutrition and Career and Technical Education programs.

Can you imagine how devastating this would be for the children of this state to not receive the money they need? Since 2009, the state has shortchanged MAEP by more than $1 billion. The possible loss of nearly $800 million would have a catastrophic impact on public education.

Federal law requires states to provide the necessary services for students with special needs. The loss of federal funds would force the state to generate the needed dollars to provide the same level of services, resulting in massive state and local tax increases and chaos in the state budget.

Someone has to speak for the boys and girls in our public schools, and I feel it is my duty to do just that. I urge you to join me in standing up for public education. I’m encouraging you to be vigilant, to alert your communities to this issue, and to communicate your opposition to any efforts to remove the federal funding that our students so desperately need.


Dr. O. Wayne Gann, Chairman

Mississippi State Board of Education

Jackson and Corinth


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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.


  1. abolishing the U.S. Department of Education is the thing to do.The government has no business our Education system.

  2. Maggie Mayhem

    Goodness knows that PUBLIC EDUCATION has been getting more and more money since the 1960s, but what have they accomplished? Poorer test scores, less money spent per pupil or in the classroom (if you are a parent, you too are probably supplying reams of paper and extra packs of pencils at school’s start) and students who don’t have college ready skills. With the decline of factories and manufacturing in the United States, what are these uneducated people to do?

    WHY…. become BUREAUCRATS! While funds to students have remained flat, the money for administrators and educational bureaucrats has increased exponentially! If you want to see an “official” report about the STATE OF EDUCATION and the return on investment, look no further than the report written by Condoleezza Rice. MORE MONEY IN THE SYSTEM does not fix the problem. Besides, it is not realistic that all the money will go away either….but THIS TRIPE from the man who espouses on the MS DOE website homepage that COMMON CORE is NOT a federally mandated program. Yeah, right.

    The MS DOE Chairman should be ASHAMED of himself for writing this letter after Cochran’s visit to the educators symposium held over the weekend on the coast! Scare tactics aimed at voters to protect your crony good ole’ boy protectionist syndicate are pathetic!

    Hopefully, Mississippi voters will know better too.

  3. “As a former school district superintendent . . . ”

    You are the problem.

  4. Elaine Vechorik

    McDaniel’s TRUE view of MS education


  5. silence Dogood

    So you’re saying that unless we get the federal government to forcibly take money from people in other states and give it to us that Mississippi can’t educate its kids? That’s the problem right there. Mississippi is a taker state right now and we need to leave the nest and become a maker state. And when we’re a maker state, are we going to think it is right and just that the feds take money from us to educate kids in other states? Will that be fair?

  6. I agree fully with Dr. Gann, McDaniel is not what Mississippi needs. He is a narcissis who hasn’t a clue about education, further more I do not understand how the people in this state can blindly follow this man. He doesn’t care about this state its all about Chris!

  7. Benton Gibson

    There is no difference in mentality between Dr. Gann and the welfare mom living in assisted housing on food stamps. Neither wants to work at solving the problem, or care if the country goes broke. They both have become dependent on federal dollars and will do anything to keep the money flowing.

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