Undercutting education not wise for legislators

Published 12:22 am Sunday, December 14, 2014

Anyone who has spent much time around elementary school-age children knows those little minds and shrill voices can be annoyingly persistent at getting their way.

Perhaps that childhood persistence is what has been missing over the last decade or so as parents’ groups have lobbied for the state of Mississippi to follow its own law and fully fund education.

Most residents know the state’s own law to dictate how school funding occurs has only been fully followed — and funded — twice in more than 16 years of its existence.

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Maybe if all of the state’s 37,000 or so fifth-graders, for example, were simply bussed to the Legislature and didn’t leave until lawmakers approved full funding, it would resolve the lingering issues.

Clearly the adults haven’t been making much progress, so perhaps turning it over to more insistent hands is the solution.

Of course, we’re being facetious, but something must change.

Over the last year, a group called Better Schools, Better Jobs, circulated a petition seeking to have full funding of the state’s educational funding law put on the ballot, ultimately seeking for the voters of the state to do what the state’s lawmakers won’t do.

The group managed to get the necessary number of votes, but now lawmakers have said they may put an alternative option on the ballot, a move that seems intent on muddying the waters on the matter.

Throwing more money at education will not fix all of Mississippi’s education woes, but continuing to short-cut education spending and put education on a back burner is worse.