Tag Archives: MAEP

You’d think Bible-belt Mississippi would know its Genesis.

Mississippi’s gotta-have-it-now attitude is kinda like Esau’s in the book of Genesis, willing to trade the future for immediate gratification. For those of you who might have forgotten the story, Esau comes in starving from a hunt and decides that he wants to have some of the stew that his brother, Jacob, is cooking. He then proceeds to trade his birthright for a meal. Those taxes that the Mississippi Republicans are talking about cutting could be used for public education. But no, some anti-public-education-conservatives are determined to make certain that the public trades the investment in tomorrow for tax-refunds, cruelly using wage poor Mississippians to strengthen the state’s wealth disparity. Looking at things like the GI bill we know how much a society gains from giving itself education and should adequately fund public education.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” Ben Franklin said.

Now would be a good time to take Franklin’s advice and resist the temptation to which Esau succumbed.

Don’t you dare force us to adequately fund education in Mississippi.

That’s the word from the Mississippi legislature, at least from “the second-highest leader of the Mississippi House (of Representatives).” Mississippi House Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden in response to an initiative drive to adequately fund public education says, “Don’t change the constitution.” The progressive initiative would bring constitutional pressure to bear on a disobliging conservative party which seems to be willing to do anything to keep Mississippi last in the nation, keeping downward pressure on wages in their neo-feudal paradise. And to show their (tough) love for the less fortunate some Mississippi Republicans were even willing to charge the costs of remedial college courses to Mississippi’s underfunded districts. Conservatives have been against integrated public education from the start and will do anything from sabotaging funding to offering competing proposals through the initiative process to derail progress. Those who dare to adequately fund public education are existential threats to the survival-of-the-fittest paradise conservatives are banking on. The payoff: a portion of charter school profits could be kicked-back to conservatives through campaign contributions and you give them a job or supplier contract when they live office and “forget about it.”

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NEO-FEUDALISM 101

“Republicans are very willing to fund things that work in education,” the Mississippi neo-Feudalists say.  And “[we] are unwilling to put money into a formula that has not proven to be effective and that appears to increase the administrative expenditures more than the classroom, they continue.  And how do we know that adequately funding public education doesn’t work in Mississippi? “It [The Mississippi Adequate Education Program] has been fully funded only twice since being put into law in 1997.”

How do you make certain that the underclass remains entrenched and grows and the wealth disparities are hermetically sealed within your society?  Simply, underfund public education or use a divide-and-conquer strategy known as Charter SchoolsNeo-Feudalists (conservatives) never believed in integrated public education,* voting rights, or Civil Rights, these things are anathema to the old hierarchy.  To these practitioners of the old-time religion, government is the problem for which sabotage is a suitable remedy, like putting Michael Brown over FEMA or Clarence Pendleton over the Civil Rights Commission.  And now we smell of a new anti-democratic weapon masquerading as a gift to the people, a competing public education initiative.  Oh, that the Progressives were as proactive as the Regressives are reactive, we could at long last take one step forward without taking two steps backwards in Mississippi. 

 

*”In the Hollow Hope, Gerald Rosenberg points out that between 1961 and 1970, there was a 242 percent increase in the number of non-sectarian private schools in the Southeast. Theses academies were particularly prevalent in the Deep South, but they existed all over the country. The private academies throughout the South have more in common than racial makeup and founding purpose. Many of them have school mascots that reference the Civil War: the Rebels, the Generals, and the Colonels. These academies operated outside the scope of the Brown ruling. Since the ruling did not apply to them, the creation of these academies was a way to keep segregation intact.  Today, of course, almost no American would openly embrace what was once the reigning ethos of segregated schools. Unfortunately, though, everyday thousands of children in America are educated in classrooms that are just as racially homogeneous as classrooms were prior to Brown.”

- “Brown 60 Years Later: Segregation Academies in the Deep South” by Regina Moorer 

The Village – The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.’s official blog

Bricks without straw!

Mississippi Republicans in a veiled effort to give their charter (cherry-picking) school plans more momentum came up with another oppressive scheme convinced that if they kill it, they will come. In a bricks-without-straw tale, conservatives suggest: deduct the funds for remediation of college students from their high school district. Starting with Brown vs. Topeka advancing through the massive flight from public schools with 1969’s Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education, conservative Mississippians have maintained a long assault on quality public education of minorities. Segregation academies exist to this day in Mississippi with very little minority enrollment. Not properly funding the public schools has been one way of lessening the expense of maintaing two education systems with many of the affluent and middle-class diverting their attention and resources to the private (Seg) academies. We won’t get into what this has meant in terms of networking and wealth and societal development. In a manner befitting a neo-feudal state maintaining a rear position, “the mid-20th century per pupil spending in Mississippi was a mere 37 percent of the national average and only 57 percent of the southern states’ average.” And now this conservative legislative majority in Mississippi knows that “[m]ississippi has never adequately funded its public schools on a sustained basis – even after it passed the Mississippi Adequate Education Program 15 years ago.” And now the response to the cry for equity is to give the district from which students needing remedial education come less funding. That thing about the arch of the moral universe bending looks a little dim at times and makes you wonder like Fannie Lou Hamer, “is this America?” But I am still keeping the faith because the Lord has promised good and a King went to the mountain top and told us we will get to the Promised Land.

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