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  • Why I’m skeptical of charters

    For some time, we have known that Mississippi's educational system has problems. Not only here in Mississippi, but across the nation. Since 1983 many reports, studies and articles have warned us tha ...

    by Rep. Linda Whittington
    Friday, 11 January 2013
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Education Still Inadequately Funded

By Ronni Mott | Jackson Free Press | March 21, 2013

Linda Whittington 
Courtesy Linda Whittington
With no shortage of suggestions about how to fix the conditions and the lagging achievements of public schools during this legislative session, Democrats say that the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, or MAEP, has yet to receive the attention it deserves. Instead, lawmakers crafted new laws covering everything from charter schools, teacher standards and scholarships, early childhood education and when to advance children to the next grade. Lawmakers designed MAEP to provide poorer school districts enough money to educate their children; however, since the Legislature passed the law in 1997, it has only fully funded the formula twice--in years when the influx of federal dollars after Hurricane Katrina bolstered the state budget.

That's a problem, Democratic lawmakers say, and they intend to bring the conversation back to those roots. On Monday, March 25, the House Democratic Caucus, Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus and Mississippi Democratic Trust will hold a public hearing on full funding of the state's public schools.

"The hearing, I think, serves several purposes," said Rep. Linda Whittington, D-Schlater, who served on the House Education Committee until this session. "One, I think we'll hear from (Rep. Cecil) Brown and some others that have a lot of experience with the budget and with funding education, and I think we'll lay out a roadmap for how we can fund this."

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