Read This: Mississippi’s Shame

Some Mississippi teachers have started a blog encouraging educators around the state to share what the effects of state funding look like on the ground in our schools and classrooms

A group of teachers here in Mississippi, including Amanda Koonlaba, have started a blog encouraging educators around the state to share with parents and others what the effects of state funding look like on the ground in our schools and classrooms. The blog is a response to the upcoming vote on a statewide proposition to require the legislature to fulfill its own guidelines for funding the public schools.

I recently submitted a piece, which they were gracious enough to publish. While focusing on the specifics of Mississippi, it should also serve as a cautionary tale to those in other states about the need to make the rest of the taxpaying public more knowledgable about what really is and is not happening with education funds.

Some public school detractors like to argue that educators are always asking for more money, that more money is not the answer, and that public schools have “failed” despite the large amounts of money they have already received. While each of those things may be found (more in some places than others), the specific details of Mississippi school funding should make us wonder how much of those accusations are really smokescreens for financial inequity (based on intention or incompetency).

Here’s a slice:

But why should those who teach the most impoverished students have to do so much more than our counterparts just to get what the State of Mississippi itself acknowledges is the minimum we need to do the job? Can schools that were set-up to fail, truly be labeled “failing schools”? Ultimately, it is the children who pay for decades of cumulative neglect.

Encourage you to read the full article and join the conversation.

  • BillIvey

    This makes me think…

    …of last night’s “Daily Show” interview with Senator Kristen Gillibrand. The topic was the difficulties of funding health care for 9/11 first responders, which if there’s any issue around which Congress could unite, you’d think that would be it. Senator Gillibrand was being extremely diplomatic, but did at one point in time acknowledge the main question being asked was, “Well, but how do you fund it?” To my mind, that shows that the good stewardship of taxpayers’ money that (as Jon Stewart pointed out) we should absolutely expect from our elected representatives has become, for many, a reflexive “spending taxpayers’ money is bad” attitude.

    Layer in racism, conscious or unwitting, and you get the situation in Mississippi.

    I’m hoping that if we all help broadcast voices like yours, strong and with moral authority, we can raise awareness and start to shift attitudes. And when we find face to face moments to personally spread the message, we can be doing that as well.

  • AnneJolly


    Great post, Renee! What you say rings true in so many states – and especially Alabama. Our education fund is repeatedly cut without conscience and our prisons are way past maximum capacity. People who are non-educators are trying to set the curriculum and teachers are being told – not to educate students – but to get test scores up. 

    What’s wrong with this whole picture?  Everything!  Thank goodness for dedicated teachers and educators who plug away despite the insanity to prepare our children to be knowledgeable citizens. 

  • Aekoonlaba

    Thank you so much Renee

    I cannot thank you enough for lending your voice to that project.