Officials fight funding for public education

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is trying to excite a certain portion of his base by arguing against the phrase in Initiative 42 concerning the jurisdiction of the court hearing any case filed against the legislature if it does not fund education in accordance with the law.  Don’t be fooled.

Initiative 42 requires that legislature fully fund K-12 when state revenue increases by 25 percent.  With a revenue increase, why wouldn’t the Lt. Gov. and the legislature want to invest in our children by providing more and better tools to learn?  The Governor signed a bill that requires all third graders to read at grade level or not pass through to the fourth grade.  Statistics show that students who cannot read at or above the third grade level at the end of their third year do not perform well in higher grades and actually fall behind their peers. Fully funding education would allow our elementary schools to hire reading coaches in grades first through third.  The teacher cannot improve struggling students in one subject while trying to teach reading, grammar, math, science and social studies to as many as 25 students in the class.  Reading coaches could work with the smaller group of students needing improvement.  Fully funded schools could purchase more innovative methods of teaching/improving reading.

Finally, to the subject of the Hinds County judge who would be “…making decisions for schools in all counties…” (According to Reeves); we will have to look to the law and lawsuits.   Simply put, when you file a lawsuit, you must file it in the county in which you or the person you are suing resides.  When the legislature is a party to a lawsuit, it would be impractical and expensive to have to defend themselves in all 82 counties. Therefore, the law states that since the legislature convenes in Jackson, which is in Hinds County; that county shall be considered the county of residence for purposes of a lawsuit. When the legislature brings a lawsuit, Mr. Reeves and Mr. Gunn have no problem with Hinds County having jurisdiction and applying its ruling to every other county.

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Maybe we should ask Lt. Gov. Reeves and Speaker Gunn why they are so adamantly fighting funding. Could it be they are holding back until privately funded charter schools take hold in MS?  Do we really want “for profit” companies controlling what our children learn and how they learn?

Do we want out-of-state companies, who are more concerned about their profits and shareholders than our local children, controlling the education of our future leaders?

We will address the failure of charter schools in other states in another article.  Let’s watch the money in this election year.  Political contributions are public information. Are our leaders trading our public schools for campaign contributions?

By Agnes Dalton.