Legislature should fund some colleges

Published 2:18 pm Sunday, March 18, 2007

Poking a little fun at our state legislature is almost a Mississippi pastime. And who could blame us for doing it?

Shenanigans go on under the Capitol dome throughout most legislative sessions and all in the name of politics and personal egos.

Seemingly silly bills are written and debated. Fists are pounded before the TV cameras and cleverly worded and rehearsed sound bites are tossed into the air.

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But all of the legislative lunacy aside, in the end, some serious decisions are made in Jackson.

In the coming days, all of the flimsy rhetoric needs to be cast aside as the deadline for getting bills finalized inches closer. Two weeks from today, the session will end.

Some important bills are still floating between the political pushing and shoving matches.

Among the most important funding bills still alive is one that would provide mid-level funding to the state’s community and junior colleges.

In simplistic terms, that means community and junior colleges would be funded at the midpoint between the amount of state funds provided per student at K-12 schools and the funding provided to state universities.

Given the success and availability of the state’s community and junior colleges, including the Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Natchez campus, the additional funding is deserved and long overdue.

Mississippi’s future lies in its willingness to intelligently invest in its education system and in making that education system more accountable.

Getting the funding corrected is the first step in that process. Holding educators accountable is the next step.

Legislators can accomplish both if they cut out a bit of the silliness and a bit of the partisanship and do what’s right for our future.