Last week, Judge Singletary ruled against former Governor Musgrove and the 21 school districts that sued the state for the amount their schools have been underfunded since 2008. In his decision, Judge Singletary agreed that schools should be fully funded but also said that current state law allows the Legislature to skirt that responsibility. So does our constitution – the weakest state constitution in the nation when it comes to providing for the education of our children. Both Mississippi law and the Mississippi Constitution give full discretion to our Legislature to decide whether or not our kids get a shot at a decent future.
Which is why this year’s election is so critical. It’s time that we end the attack on our children’s futures with two decisive moves:
1. Elect legislators who share our commitment to an adequately-funded public school system. We’re closer to having an education-friendly Legislature than you might think. We already have a sizeable, bi-partisan group of pro-public education legislators. We just need to re-elect them and add a dozen or so more supporters to ensure that public education is made a legislative priority every single day!
2. Vote for Initiative 42, amending our state constitution to recognize our children’s right to an adequately funded education. Opponents of adequate K-12 funding continue to circulate false information in an effort to defeat the initiative. Click here to see the truth about Initiative 42.
First, find out if you have a contested primary election in your district by clicking here.
If you have a contested primary race in your district, we need you to:
1. Write a letter endorsing the candidate you believe will be the strongest supporter of public schools. Post your letter on Facebook and Instagram and link to it on Twitter. Send a copy of your letter to your local newspaper as a letter to the editor. And email your endorsement to all your email contacts. Let them know which candidate you support and why. (If you don’t know which candidate to back, request meetings with the candidates to discuss their positions on education, or check out their Candidate Q&A responses.)
2. Ask your preferred candidate to have some simple post cards printed highlighting his or her strengths (including a commitment to public schools) and asking for voters’ support in the primary election. Next week, we are going to ask that you and your friends write quick notes on some of those post cards and mail them to others in your community, asking them to vote for your candidate. This will be the perfect timing to have post cards land in friends’ mailboxes a couple of days before they head to the polls!
Click here to see other ways that you can help your candidate.
The stakes have never been higher for public education. Well-funded privatizers from out of state are attempting to buy a majority in Mississippi’s Legislature by pouring cash into the campaigns of candidates they have recruited specifically for the purpose of privatizing our education system and funneling public education dollars to their for-profit cronies. (See which candidates they are funding here. Read about the Washington D.C. group behind this scheme and how their strategy is playing out in other states here.)
We can beat them, but the August 4 primary is key. Many of the races in which the privatization candidates are competing do not have general election opponents – those races will be decided in the August 4 primary.
Our children can’t vote. We owe it to them to do our homework before we cast votes that will shape their futures. Take a look at what the candidates have to say, and spread the word. We’ve got two weeks. Let’s get this done for our kids!