JACKSON — It’s been said so often that it’s cliché: Mississippi needs to invest in public education to improve its economic future.
The warm-and-fuzzy sentiment gets polite applause from politicians, even from those who consistently vote to shortchange the state’s school funding formula and from those who are unwilling to challenge the status quo by pushing for stronger school administrators or innovative teaching methods.
Still, when one of Mississippi’s most successful business executives speaks out for stronger education system and invests millions of his own dollars to help create the change he’s seeking, that grabs people’s attention.
Former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale is helping the state chamber of commerce, the Mississippi Economic Council, promote ideas in Blueprint Mississippi, an outline of proposals to improve the state. MEC will present Blueprint to legislators in January, offering it as a ready-made policy package.