The Difference Between Can’t and Won’t

You could be forgiven for taking a fatalistic attitude about our state’s future. The truth is not that Mississippi can’t catch a break, but rather that we won’t.

There’s a big difference.

“Can’t” suggests we lack the ability to be better. “Won’t” means we lack the will to improve.

This is the entire basis for a number of brave districts filing suit to demand the state provide them the funding the law requires. Mississippi has the ability to dramatically improve education, but our elected leaders have decided we won’t.

They are making critical funding decisions not based on the true costs of providing an adequate education; not based on how much the state can afford; and certainly not based on the overall worth of an education. Our children’s future hinges on what our elected leadership finds politically expedient.

They seem to be saying that we can’t do any better than last. Our problems are too great to be resolved. The legislature can’t pass a law to change the MAEP formula. Our state can’t afford to fund it. And even if we did, we can’t make any difference.

No. Not, ‘We can’t.’ They won’t.

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