MSGOP Executive Director Spencer Ritchie: Dems push false narrative about GOP, education
Oh, the things vulnerable politicians will say in an election year. Last week, Democratic Rep. Bobby Moak penned an opinion piece in which he claimed Gov. Phil Bryant’s administration and Republican legislative leaders have a “hostile relationship with education,” are engaged in an “assault on Mississippi educations (sic)” and are “punishing” children. In particular, he focused his ire on the Literacy-Based Promotion Act, a Republican-backed law ending schools automatically promoting students to fourth grade even if they can’t read, a law he failed to mention he voted for in 2013.
As inflammatory and overblown as Moak’s rhetoric may sound, it is part and parcel with the Democratic Party’s grand election year strategy to make people think Republicans don’t care about education, hoping to drive people to the polls this November in support of Democratic candidates. As any good trial lawyer like Moak knows, you’ve got to have a narrative to win your case, and this is the Democratic narrative heading into the elections, however unsupported by the facts.
The reality is education has been among the highest, if not the highest, priorities for Republican leaders these last four years. Substantial achievements and historic, student-centered reforms enacted in our state under Republican leadership during that time period backs this up.
Under the Republican Legislature’s most recent budget, public schools will receive $2.52 billion, more funds than they have ever received in the history of our state. Indeed, over the past four years, education spending has grown by nearly $400 million. The Legislature has increased support for, among other things, teacher pay raises, reading coaches, prekindergarten, National Board Certified Teachers, teacher supply funds, school safety programs and vocational education.