Education must be a priority for lawmakers

Published 9:15 am Monday, January 5, 2015


The public knows it. The teachers know it. The administrators know it.

Why don’t our state elected leaders know it?

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During the months of meetings by the ad hoc committee to research the viability of a new sports complex, committee members also sought out information on other quality of life issues.

During their research, the committee polled a number of residents about their concerns and their opinions. Of those polled, 43 percent listed education as the quality of life element most important to them.

This proved to be the most overwhelming response to any area and shows there is a strong interest in the state of education in Vicksburg, Warren County and Mississippi.

The problem is, those controlling the purse strings in Mississippi tend to see funding for public education as a nuisance rather than a necessity. They see it is something “they have to do” rather something they should make an investment in.

But, there are local leaders who understand the impact education can have, if not on the students who are in the system, but the impact a well-trained and educated workforce can have.

“Education is a major economic development issue. When people with families look to come here, one of the first things they want to know is about the education system. Businesses and industries looking to come here want to know how educated our work force is,” South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson said after reviewing the poll results.

With the Mississippi Legislature set to convene Tuesday, we ask them to give education in the state a fighting chance by finding ways to invest in education, rather than just finding ways to get the budget bill passed and signed.

It’s time for Mississippi to step up and find ways to show that the future of this state sits in our classrooms. Each and every student deserves the best possible education we can provide, not simply the one we “have” to fund.