OUR OPINION: GOP majority must define the essentials

Now that Republicans have the majority in both the House and Senate, they will bear responsibility for ensuring that what comes out of the Legislature is geared toward the long-term uplifting of the state and not simply peripheral ideological causes.

That means attention to education at all levels, beginning with a commitment to keeping the Mississippi Adequate Education Program funded as close to the formula prescribed by state law as is humanly possible in these still tough economic times. It means progress toward the “mid-level” funding for community colleges, critical as they are to the state’s economic development efforts, and university funding that recognizes the close connection between higher education and the state’s ability to maximize its own internal resources while holding down the tuition spiral that is hurting so many families.

A governing majority can’t simply say that education needs to become more efficient and continue to cut its resources. It needs to develop legislation and make the difficult decisions that encourage efficiency – consolidation of school districts, for example – while recognizing that efficiencies alone can’t make up for inadequate financial resources. This is especially true when K-12 education in Mississippi is under the toughest accountability standards ever, with performance expectations – and the consequences for not meeting them – higher than they’ve ever been.

NEMS Editorial
11/15/11