The primary election was a mixed bag for Mississippi children. There were some big wins, with pro-public school candidates prevailing over privatizers. In other races, out-of-state PAC money from Washington D.C. defeated staunch public school supporters.
The lesson for November is clear. If we want strong public schools in Mississippi, we are going to have to step up. We can’t afford to let our guard down – and let big money from out-of-state profiteers buy our Legislature, replacing lawmakers who support public schools with those they’ve recruited to implement their privatization plans – in short, to transfer taxpayer dollars intended for public schools to corporate cronies whose for-profit charter schools, virtual schools, and other private ventures produce healthy returns for shareholders, but not so great results for children.
If we let them silence us, who will speak up for our kids?
Consider the latest heavy-handed power-plays that political leaders have employed to maintain their stranglehold on education legislation. These tactics make a mockery of the very freedoms on which our country was founded.
• An unsuccessful attempt to pass a law suppressing the first amendment right of educators and school board members to advocate for their students and their public schools
• Railroading through an “alternative” to Initiative 42 designed to undermine the people’s school funding amendment
• Threatening massive job cuts to state employees who support adequate funding for public schools
• A failed election-year ploy to slash state revenue through massive tax cuts
• Ramming through privatization legislation that sends taxpayer dollars intended for public schools to unaccountable private schools instead
A chance for you to speak up on Initiative 42
In August and September, forums will be held around the state at which citizens can hear about the people’s amendment, Initiative 42, and the Legislature’s alternative that is intended to kill the initiative you worked so hard for. Citizens wishing to express their support or opposition to the competing initiatives will have an opportunity to speak.
You can bet that forum attendees will be treated to all the scare tactics and bogus talking points that school funding opponents are parroting in their attempt to keep public schools underfunded and on the ropes. Click here to see a preview of the falsehoods they will be spreading. You can bet that the privatizers are recruiting public school opponents to speak against Initiative 42, our children’s best hope for adequately-funded schools. Resource-starved schools are a part of their plan to destroy confidence in public education and hasten the diversion of public school dollars to their corporate cronies.
Your presence at these hearings is important. Someone has to tell the truth. Will you speak up for our children?
Those planning to make remarks are asked to sign up at 5:00 prior to the start of the forum(s). All forums begin at 5:30 p.m. Citizens may attend and make comments at any or all of these meetings:
- August 11, Jackson – The Mississippi e-Center; 1230 Raymond Road, Jackson
- August 13, Hernando – Gale Center; 2601 Elm Street, Hernando
- August 17, Tupelo – Link Centre; 1800 West Main, Tupelo
- August 20, Meridian – Temple Theater; 2320 8th Street, Meridian
- August 27, Cleveland – Bologna Performing Arts Center; 1003 West Sunflower Road, Cleveland
- September 1, Hattiesburg – Jackie Dole Sherrill Community Center; 220 West Front Street, Hattiesburg
- September 3, Gulfport – Lynn Meadows Discovery Center WINGS Theater; 246 Dolan Avenue, Gulfport
- September 8, Brookhaven – MS School of the Arts, Lampton Auditorium; 308 West Cherokee Street, Brookhaven
In November, we will have a chance to vote “yes” on the people’s amendment – an amendment to our constitution that will provide Mississippi children the same constitutional right to an adequately funded education that is enjoyed by the children in every other state in our country – a right that has been denied our children for decades and that some in power are determined to deny them still.
Kudos to the Sun Herald editorial board for its support of our children and their public schools: http://www.sunherald.com/2015/07/18/6327450/sun-herald-editorial-we-urge-you.html. We parents must speak up, too. It’s a sad day when some of the loudest Mississippi voices are of those working to deny our children adequate school funding. It’s time to expose their effort for what it really is.
Can you attend a forum near you? Our kids are counting on us. Let’s not let them down.