Tag Archives: Mississippi Adequate Education Program

Governor, that ain’t rain

Do you feel that warm, wet substance on your leg? You got to feel it when someone suggests the state of public education in Mississippi is so fine that funding to equalize schools should only be increased by 2.7 per cent and taxes should be cut.

Is Mississippi 19th in Education?

19th in education,1 that’s what you were supposed to think about Mississippi’s education position, nationally, according to the conservatives (Governor’s State of the State Address 2015). But the number refers to spending as a percentage of “state taxable resources.” Misdirection is the conservatives’ forte. Speaking of spending as a percentage of “state taxable resources.” diverts attention from equality, the lack of adequately funding all school districts, an underfunding which in turn affects the need for college remedial efforts (in neo-feudal Mississippi college remediation has come under attack – read Bricks without straw) and workforce re-training (costlier to re-train workers with learning deficiencies), new business formation (“highly educated areas have above average entrepreneurship rates”)2etc. A state can’t deprive the people of equal education funding and not suffer the consequences in retarded economic growth and human potential, this exhibited in increased crime rates.3

A state can’t deprive its citizens and avoid these consequences, but groups within the state can deprive large segments of equal educational opportunities, profiting disproportionately in a way that shifts wealth upward. But what do you expect from a crowd determined to urinate on your leg and tell you it’s raining. A crowd so disingenuous that they crow about how well Mississippi’s economy’s is doing and never thank Uncle Sugar(see Mike Huckabee government assistance reference) No, they’ll never mention the $97 million in recovery funds to Rankin County, Ms. and the $67 million to Madison County, Ms., or that Mississippi’s economy received over $5 billion in stimulus funding. Despite the evidence, conservatives insist that the ARRA didn’t create any jobs. So when it comes to everything from public education to ObamaCare, who you gonna believe the neo-feudalists and their walking dead sycophants or your lying eyes and those darn numbers? But then again maybe the conservatives are right and what their trickle-down proposals work and the thousands of jobs we were losing when Obama came into office is the way things should be; maybe rain is warm and smells like pee.

1 Gov. Bryant’s full 2015 State of the State speech – Clarion Ledger
January 21, 2015
2 Local labor force education, new business characteristics, and firm performance
Mark Doms a,*, Ethan Lewis b, Alicia Robb c
a Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, United States
b Dartmouth College, United States
c Kauffman Foundation and University of California, Santa Cruz, United States

3. The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates,
Arrests, and Self-Reports
Lance Lochner
Department of Economics
University of Western Ontario
Enrico Moretti
Department of Economics
UCLA

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.

▶ Wont Get Fooled Again – YouTube

 

or will we?

“plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”

“The more things change, the more they stay the same” –  Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Mississippi Republicans’ masterful utilization of the levers of power, i.e. being able to have U.S. Senators at their beck and call for Yokohama officials (Yokohama Tire Corporation is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based The Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.) reveals the true power structure, ancient and plutocratic in nature, of the state (see Jeff Pender’s story, “Landing Clay County tire plant was no easy task,” from the Clarion Ledger 4-27-13). The Governor of the state even gave the Yokohama representatives gifts “paid by private funds.” (Who were the private sector players who provided funds for the Japan junket and what were their motivations?; what did they get or do they hope to get for their investment, since we know that according to conservatives the only motivation for men is self-interest, this being the driver of the free-market?) On what do they get first dibs? What inside information do they get or fast track to supplier contracts will be coming their way. Is their identity a matter of public record? Funny how small government really means government by the few.

 

It looks like the supposed small-government crowd (at least those are the rank and file people who elected a Republican-dominated Mississippi state house, House of Representatives and Senate, and Republicans to every state-wide office except Attorney General believe they are) is now getting “big government” legislation. RepubliCons passed legislation which effectively bans abortion despite recent overwhelming defeat of a personhood initiative which would have effectively banned abortion. How’s that for the will of a few controlling “big government” so that government determines that a woman has no right to decide with her doctor what to do with her body? And now a few men have drawn up a plan to give millions of dollars to a Japanese company and presented it, fully developed, to the legislature for rubber-stamping (“The approach we take with confidentiality is tight-lipped, driven by the commitment we have made to the company with regard to confidentiality- remarked Sally of the Mississippi Development Authority of the secrecy involved before a “a closed and confidential briefing,” according to an article, “Tire plant seen as big jobs producer in the Clarion Ledger, 4-25-2013.

There is not one TEA (taxed-enough already) party scheduled to protest this “big-government” plan. And the Teabagger’s were the crowd that protested so loudly about not knowing what was in the Affordable Care Act. The levers of power in Mississippi are still controlled by a few Oligarchs or Plutocrats, the same as it ever was and the rank and file Republican is satisfied with merely carrying the Republican name.

Mississippi today bears a striking resemblance to Mississippi before the Civil War, where a few wealthy men dictated the course of government, with none-slaving owning lemmings following because of their possible slave-owning potential, 19th century trickle-down economics which also sustained the class structure. The average Mississippi Republican, like the Mississippi Democrats before the Civil War (blacks didn’t get the right to vote until after the war and the Redemption essentially eviscerated the black franchise in the south until the 1960’s), isn’t against big government if the “right” people are in positions of authority perpetuating the status quo, i.e. slow economic growth channeled through a private sector which segregates itself at every opportunity and deplorably under-funds the education system which militates against the development of a truly well-educated (economically and politically)citizenry. The reason you won’t see any TEA party rallies against the Yokohama tire plant “give-away” is because the Heritage clones at the Mississippi Public Policy Center couldn’t generate a whimper from the supposed anti-big-government Mississippi Republicans who are too poor and uneducated (economically and politically) to respond to anything but dog whistles (see my previous post on the dog whistle that kills bugs.)* The Mississippi Public Policy Center can only get a rise out of the racially-responsive population when that population can hear the dog whistle (say ObamaCare or Obama anything in Mississippi and you have blown the whistle)

At the heart of attacks on government, for southerners, and the reason it has a special appeal in the south, is that the attack is an ancient appeal to racial supremacy. It was “Big Government” intervention in the south, interfering with the southern way of life through first trying to maintain the Union and then through Reconstruction, which necessitated the Redemption (In the 1870s, the Southern Democrats exercised power through paramilitary organizations such as the White League and Red Shirts, especially in Louisiana and Mississippi, respectively. The Red Shirts were also active in North Carolina. These paramilitary groups turned out Republican (who were affiliated with the north and freedmen rights) officeholders and terrorized and assassinated other freedmen and their allies to suppress voting. –see Wiki entry on Redeemers). To this day, the flag which was adopted after a massive, horrifically violent post-Reconstruction disenfranchisement period (in 1894) remains as the symbol of white supremacy.  The Mississippi flag is a symbol of planned, structural exclusion.  Those responsible for maintenance of that structural exclusion responded to school integration with a Sovereignty Commission. That structural exclusion, today, has vestiges in schools that were formed as Seg-Academies. That structural exclusion did crack a bit when the University of Mississippi, recognizing the economic impact of not being able to attract many talented black athletes, got rid of the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia (Confederate flag) from its sporting events.  The racist superstructure (the underlying power structure) is part of the reason funds can never be found to sufficiently, continuously fund the Adequate Education Fund in Mississippi. The superstructure is a manifestation of the racial-purity philosophy which was the goal and legacy of the Klan in Mississippi. In keeping something pure (communities, schools, etc.) like keeping government small, something most be excluded, something must be kept out. Now this exclusion is in effect a shrinking of opportunity for training and economic mobility, which can be readily accomplished in a segregated (in terms of employment opportunities) private sector, which ideally you, as a small-government advocate, would want to expand while shrinking or “drowning” in a bathtub the government sector (with its more egalitarian proclivities and determination to monitor inclusiveness and insure diversity and access to opportunity). Of course the diminished or constricted educational funding will have some white, expendable, casualties as well but this simply reinforces the classism but using poor whites as a buffer and shock troops in the political battle to maintain the status quo.

Underfunding education (as in purposely siphoning some of its funding off to fund charter schools) gives the true ruling elite two obvious advantages. First the pool of people competing with them intellectually is constricted through access depravation which makes the dog whistle more effective as supposed racial inferiority becomes superficially evident. The distraction of race allows for a concentration, a concentration facilitated through trade agreements which eviscerate the middle class, of resources into fewer hands. These resources are channeled away from un-educated and under-educated whites through trade agreements which ship jobs overseas depleting the tax base and with it funds for education. The un-educated and under-educated whites don’t know that they have the power to affect these decisions and accept their plight as just a matter of markets at work and are vulnerable to appeals to “entitlement reform” as minorities are viewed as the principal recipients of their tax dollars and that they are Taxed Enough Already. Playing up the notion that the wealth of the nation is being greatly dissipated by entitlement programs or by “welfare queens” is a perfect distraction like the Jesse Helms sponsored Harvey Gant commercial, all the while corporations and wealthy individuals stash billions off-shore and companies, sitting on trillions of dollars display the true blue-smoke-and-mirrors essence of trickle-down economics. Secondly, they, elite white men, the upper-class, firmly in control of the bulk of the capital, can dole out resources (through campaign support and jobs) in the private sector to re-enforce and animate their political views about school funding, abortion clinics, state-approved prayer, etc. The South’s economic drag on the American economy is the price the country must pay for turning its back on the American South for almost 100 years after the Civil War, and allowing a class of white southerners to resist changes that would have enriched the region far faster by keeping a lot of talent here to bloom and ripen. So when you think Yokohama, think how that could have been an American plant with union labor years ago if certain men had not been so successful in fanning the flames of white-hot white supremacy which enriched the upper echelons, retarded labor development and contributed not only to a brain and talent drain which continues to this day but to the under-development of so many of the minds that remained.

*According to Sam R. Hall of the Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Ms., the Milliman study is

“a Dec. 7 report prepared for the Division of Medicaid by Milliman Inc. The report, of course, looks at the costs to the state for expanding Medicaid

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant sent the report to Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Speaker Philip Gunn on Friday, according to the letter attached to the report.”

The report refers to Mississippians or people who currently quality for Medicaid but are not covered as if they were insects or bugs who would come out of the woodwork when it refers to a Woodwork affect as follows:

Woodwork effect
Milliman’s study also includes what he calls the “woodwork effect,” an allusion to people who currently quality for Medicaid but are not covered and will “come out of the woodwork” to qualify because of new changes affecting people without insurance.
Milliman predicts the following costs over the seven-year period, regardless of the state’s decision to expand Medicaid:
• 60 percent: $319 million
• 80 percent: $413 million
• 100 percent: $474 million

Mississippi to Drown Public Schools in a Bathtub or How to use the Charter Trojan Horse to attack Public Schools

The anti-labor minions of the oligarchs say you fix education in Mississippi by making sure teachers aren’t part of the state retirement system (effectively reducing the return on their education) and that they don’t have to meet licensing requirements (two-features of the recently passed Mississippi Charter-School bill), right? Wondering how paying teachers less and removing licensing requirements help children in public education? The thing is they’re not really meant to. These two standard subversions, probably produced and spoon-fed to Mississippi’s Legislature by ALEC or Better Education for Mississippi or FreedomWorks (they’re really indistinguishable enemies of public education and truth be told would rather have the whole department abolished), reduce costs for any future privatization and more immediately increase the amounts available for payment to the “education service provider,” “governing board members” and “leadership and management team” incarnated in the Mississippi (Cherry-Picking) Charter School law. And to further entrench the power in Republican hands the law removes some rather pesky regulation. So that they and their buddies can suckle un-harassed at the government tit and funnel money back into Republican election campaigns through donors who favor less regulation the RepubliCons injected this: Charter Schools are exempt FROM REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO PUBLIC PURCHASES. How’s that for avoiding any chance of Operation Pretense-styled investigations or PEER investigations? The RepubliCons have become masters of evasion and avoidance by changing the rules so that Voodoo economics prevail. They change the laws to avoid having to do what “ordinary” people must do so that they can make fortunes while holding or running for public office like Mitt Romney with his Cayman Island bank accounts. They set the stage by simply shaping the rules to allow trillions in revenue to be kept off-shore and personal funds in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. Funny how that less-regulation thing dovetails so nicely with the lobbyist-created loop holes to produce Midas fortunes for so few, i.e. the way the Commodities Modernization Act ultimately benefited AIG and Goldman Sachs. But what the benefit that the public got from the Collateralized debt obligations could hardly be described as a trickle. It was a trick demonstrating the true wine into sewer water magic which is the mark of Voodoo economics. The appeal is to the greed of the poor and middle class people like me who are susceptible to the notion that if the wealthy have more we all stand a chance of being wealthy like them. It’s an appeal to our greed.

You see the same Voodoo economics at work here in Mississippi where the populace has been convinced that by siphoning off a few kids (in Charter Schools) from the rest while using the same money or funding(simply subdividing the under-funded Adequate Education Funding program), everybody will be better off, Voila! Trickle-down (Voodoo Economics) applied to education.

FYI: Shanghai China (population 20 million) went the opposite direction of small select groups with “development of a more inclusive system in which all students are expected to perform at high levels; greatly raising teacher pay and upgrading teacher standards and teacher education” and their students out performed the world.

The truth is that in everything from the flag that was adopted to dis the Union after the Civil War to the Seg Academies that were formed in the wake of a court decision to the Charter School movement, there is a strong element in Mississippi which is anti-union of any stripe and would prefer separate but equal. Failing that, they can maintain their preferred stratification by operating two public education systems, one of which they control by crafting a rule which says that

“Each member of the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board must have demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to charter schooling as a strategy for strengthening public education.”

Of course that is a hand-crafted, cushy position for someone from Heritage, K12, or any of the other proponents of privatization. Oh, by the way the Authorizer Board gets paid government funds and there is nothing to prohibit a member of the board from going to work for the “education service provider” after leaving the board. And of course they can all contribute to RepubliCon campaigns. Here comes the Education-Industrial Complex, created and controlled by the RepubliCon Party.

The really funny thing is how they get so many poor and working class people to vote with and for them. Maybe the RepubliCons are employing a sense of inferiority among some Americans embodied in the notion that both Gordon Gekko (“Greed is good” – at least for the Oligarchs) and W.C. Fields (“You can’t cheat an honest man” – the RepubliCon deception only works on poor people and the middle class if they approve their ill-treated as deserved, as the way things ought to be in a survival of the fittest society and thus sympathize with the Romney types who never give a sucker an even break) were right.

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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RepubliCon Motto: If we kill it, they will come.

Huffington Post contributor Matthew Lynch, Ed.D, recently welcomed the Charter School Bill passed by the Mississippi Senate as a aid to public schools citing a report which gave Mississippi “F when it comes to building and support capacity.” Of course this remedy, which allows privitization of part of the education system switchs attention away from the program already in place (The Mississippi Adequate Education Program has been underfunded a total of about $980 million since the 2007-08 school year.) The working logic is don’t fund the existing program, complain about failure and produce an entirely new plan that just happens to involve, wait for it, wait for it, privitization, that RepubliCon panecea.

Mr. Lynch lauds the supposed competition the Charter Schools are to bring to the Public Schools. Here again the disinginuity is in the false frame which services the hidden agenda of the RepubliCon party, refuge of the Dixicrats. The deck is stacked in such a way that public education will be further denegrated to make the case for increased privitization. Charter Schools according to the celebrated bill can max-out with 20% fewer children with “economic or academic disadvantages and special ed needs” than public schools have. In essence they are being allowed to cherry-pick who they will serve. This is just the latest attack of the forces which opposed Governor William Winter and fled from the public schools after Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education.

So when Mr. Lynch complains about the teacher to pupil ratio and lack of student achievement someone should tell him that there are methods not involving Charter Schools that Mississippi could have employed if the will for improving public schools was pervasive.
“•Most top-performing countries have a school year that exceeds 200 days, and the school day in many countries begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m.
•In contrast, Mississippi has a 180-day school year – students in top-performing countries get at least an extra month of schooling per year in which to master competencies.”

“Mississippi is the only state in the South that does not provide state-funded preschool, which many say could help reduce the achievement gap.”

“•The top-performing countries teach fewer concepts but teach them much more deeply
•Mississippi is moving to the Common Core State Standards which is based on international benchmarks”

“•In top-performing countries, getting into a teacher education program is like getting into medical school – these countries accept only 10% or less of applicants into teacher education programs – their most brilliant citizens are teaching their children
•Teacher education programs in top-performing countries are extremely rigorous; teacher candidates major in the subjects they will teach and have additional coursework in pedagogy (learning how to teach)
•Teachers are valued and compensated as high-priority professionals – their salaries are on par with physicians, engineers, and attorneys
•In contrast, Mississippi has been willing to lower standards for teacher certification in order to avoid paying teachers a competitive salary; consequently, we are failing to attract enough of our best and brightest into the field of education, and schools of education often have the lowest average ACT scores on a university campus.”

Funneling money to private entities may be an answer but public education has been, can be, and should be the method employed to educate Mississippi children.

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If you have in anyway thought this content to be useful, thought provoking, or entertaining, please feel free to contribute to the author’s fund. Your support would be greatly appreciated and aid in providing more time to provide more of the same. And thanks for reading.

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