Why Mississippi Must Fully Fund the Adequate Education Program
It’s no secret that education and its funding has never been a top priority in Mississippi. Even last week’s news that the state ranks dead last in the nation when it comes to educational opportunities and success for its students is not enough to cause a legitimate uproar. The news is really just more of the same for my home state that has grown so accustomed to these types of rankings being the standard that it is almost numb to them.
Case in point: The House Constitution Committee in the state has developed an alternative to the Mississippi Adequate Education Program — the latter being legislation that calls for full funding of a “mid-level” public education for the state’s K-12 students. Supporters of the group Better Schools, Better Jobs are pushing for the Mississippi legislature to pass the original MAEP but legislators are trying to kill it instead. The MAEP has been around since 1997 and has only been fully funded twice in that time period (both times were election years). Only two groups of legislators felt that the students in Mississippi deserved a “mid-level” education? If that isn’t a rallying cry for education advocates, teachers and parents alike, I’m not sure what is.
Fully-funding the MAEP is the first step to committing to better educational opportunities for the students of the state. The success of students in Mississippi will not turn completely around overnight, but there needs to be a dedicated effort from lawmakers down to the teachers in the classroom to make that happen. It starts with, at the very least, adequate funding.