Education reform remains a marathon, not a sprint

In a state plagued with Mississippi’s long history of low educational attainment and withering poverty, there are no quick fixes. Thank goodness charter schools are now a tool in the toolbox for improving public education in Mississippi after a long, hard political battle.

Thank goodness that Mississippi is finally putting a toe in the waters of state-funded pre-kindergarten programs. Thank goodness that Mississippi is finally beginning to address the self-defeating practice of social promotion even when the student is lacking in the most basic of skills.

But charter schools won’t prove a panacea. Neither will “third-grade gates.” Like the Democrat-led reforms that preceded them, the 2013 GOP-led education reforms are part of a long-term solution that will require vigilance, innovation and money.

Now over 30 years in the rear-view mirror, the Mississippi Education Reform Act of 1982 remains a watershed in the state’s history and a dividing line between the state’s old politics and the state’s new political order that continues to evolve.

Sid Salter
Clarion Ledger