Real reason for defeat of Initiative-42: Part three

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A far more accurate way to assess school funding from year to year or from state to state is to use State Spending as a Percent of State Income. How many cents out of every dollar of income is spent on public schools? Mississippi spends 16.4% of its income on K-12 education, second lowest in the nation, after Arkansas.
Yet the legislature was determined to thwart upholding its 1997 LAW to fully fund our schools. Predicting disaster about a judge having “control” over state funds? When they know all it would mean is injunctive relief — for the legislature to uphold the will of the state’s citizens?
Their plan is simple: Continue to starve public education so it fails. Then cash in on the lobbying money waved at them from the charter school industry. As the privatization of several of our state prisons has resulted in widespread corruption, fraud, higher incarceration rates, and the horrific “school-to-prison” pipeline in Meridian, that was the subject of national reports, so our educational system shall suffer the same fate.
The second part of Initiative 42 had, at final count, 100,000 more votes than 42A. But because so many citizens became confused on the two steps of voting for it, they rendered their support moot by misreading and mis-checking the first part.
And this is exactly what the state legislature counted on to continue to shortchange our children and our teachers of our public schools, and our state’s future. Their lawsuit to put on the ballot this two-step gobbledygook, with taxpayers’ money, certainly paid off for them.
I wonder how the Governor and his cronies can look a public school teacher or student in the face, and tell them they’re not important enough to have the funding MS can afford to give AND had promised to give. And to sum up the attraction of charter schools, one only has to read Rupert Murdoch’s quote from 2010: “When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed.” Transformed, of course, is a code word for exploited— for profit.
Looks like the status quo for MS schools stays at the bottom of the nation. But it’s not over. Those of us who say “no” to the never-ending greed and corruption which are shortchanging our state, our future, and our k-12 education, must continue to fight for our schools and our children.

By Deborah Craig

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