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.
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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Tagged 1969 Desegregation Ruling, 2058, adequately funded, affluent, Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education, bricks-without-straw, Brown vs. Topeka, conservative, enrollment, equity, expense, Fannie Lou Hamer, funding, high school, is this America, King, MAEP, Mississippi Adequate Education Program, Mississippi Republicans, Mississippians, neo-feudal, North East Mississippi Daily Journal, private (Seg) academies, private academies, Promised Land, public education, public schools, remediation, SB2060, Seg academies, Segregation academies, Senate Bill 2058, Senate Bill 2060, Senator John Polk, Senator Nancy Collins', southern states