Education is key to our future

Published 11:02 pm Saturday, June 9, 2012

Since he assumed the position of governor, Phil Bryant has pushed the state as a pro-business, forward-looking economic giant waiting to be unleashed. A key factor in realizing his vision for the state’s economy is a qualified, educated work force. Many strides will have to be made as Mississippi continues to find itself on the bottom, or near the bottom in national education rankings.

Education will have to begin at an early age. State Sen. Briggs Hopson III knows this. He authored bills in the last two legislative sessions that would require students to attend pre-K schools. State law mandates that schools must offer the pre-K programs, but attendance is optional.

Hopson said he has seen the effects looking at his own children and his children’s classmates. “I watched (the difference) in my three children when they got to kindergarten. They’ve been in a private pre-K program that we were fortunate enough to send them.”

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Hopson also said Mississippi is the last state in the nation that does not have mandatory pre-K schooling. “We were the last state to get kindergarten. Now we’re going to be the last state with a pre-K program,” he said.

We urge the senator from Warren County to continue the push for mandatory pre-K. In those early classes, children develop the basic skills that will provide the foundation for their education. If every student who entered kindergarten had the ability to write his or her name and write the alphabet, teachers could hit the ground running in kindergarten, instead of having to get the less-advanced students up to speed.

If Mississippi is serious about becoming an economy of the future and an envy of other states, it has to produce a work force educated enough to handle the challenges of the future.

Don’t give up, Sen. Hopson. This fight is worth winning. The future — our future — might depend on it.