Legislators need to stop politicking

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 10, 2007

To spend or not to spend — that became the question last week among Mississippi’s lawmakers.

Legislators came up with an answer by majority vote — don’t spend yet — but political issues don’t always die so quickly.

The 2007 session started with promises from many to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. Some wanted to make it a done deal by signing the paperwork, and issuing the check before even fully knowing what the budget will be.

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The move reeks of election year politics for both sides. MAEP needs as much money as it can get, certainly. Legislators should commit to that goal now, and make it happen once the budget book is opened.

But don’t wallow in it.

Fully funding MAEP is the first step to improving education in our state. The staircase doesn’t end there.

Whether the base funding comes now or in two months, the legislators and the state department need to consider other educational improvement options before they crown themselves kings.

The future of our children, our economy and our state deserves more than a crafty political move.

The state has a world of unique answers before them waiting to be discussed, including high school redesign, year-round school and elementary reading programs to name a few.

Fully funding MAEP is a minimum, not a crowning achievement.