Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dissecting Initiative 42

Mississippi voters will endure the battle over Initiative 42 as ads and arguments blanket the airwaves, media, and of course, Facebook.  JJ thought it might be a good idea to start from scratch and post the actual proposed amendments that will be on the ballot.


The current section 201 of the Mississippi Constitution states:

The Legislature shall, by general law, provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of free public schools upon such conditions and limitations as the Legislature may prescribe.

Initiative 42 proposes to change that language with this amendment:

 To protect each child's fundamental right to educational opportunity, the State shall provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of an adequate and efficient system of free public schools. The chancery courts of this State shall have the power to enforce this section with appropriate injunctive relief.

or if one wants to compare the two:


SECTION 201. To protect each child’s fundamental right to educational opportunity, The Legislature the State shall, by general law, provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of an adequate and efficient system of free public schools upon such conditions and limitations as the Legislature may prescribe.  The chancery courts of this State shall have the power to enforce this section with appropriate injunctive relief.


This is the language that will appear in the constitution and carry the force of law if approved.  It shifts the funding of education from the Mississippi Code to the Constitution.   The amendment does not define "adequate" or "efficient" but instead leaves them to be decided by the courts.   It will be much harder to cut education funding or fund education below a level deemed to be "adequate and efficient" if such language is enshrined in the Mississippi Constitution.

Supporters of Initiative 42 also submitted this explanation with the proposed amendment to the Secretary of State:
Summary: The amendment will protect each child's fundamental right to educational opportunity through the 12th grade by amending Section 201 so that the state must provide and the legislature must fund an adequate and efficient system of free public schools. The recommendation is to finance this not by new taxes but by using a portion of future increases in general fund revenues over the next seven years in order to reach the necessary level of funding.
Amount and Source of Revenue Required to Implement the Initiative:

For purposes of the initiative, a minimum standard of contemporary adequate education is described by the funding formula of the current version of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program and an efficient education is one that will, among other things, enable Mississippi's public school graduates to compete favorably with their counterparts in surrounding states.

Funding the initiative will not require a reduction in, elimination of, or reallocation of funding from any currently funded programs. The initiative will be funded by maintaining current funding levels for public education through the 12th grade adjusted for inflation, and then devoting to public education not less than 25% of future increases in general fund and other tax collections in order to achieve the constitutionally required level of adequacy and efficiency in the public educational system by a target date of Fiscal Year 2022 and maintain it in the future. For example, the state's general fund revenues are projected to increase over Fiscal Year 2014 levels by approximately 3% annually, which will produce an additional $150 million in Fiscal Year 2015. Twenty-five percent of that would be $37.5 million. A similar amount for seven years would reach the additional $265 million a year in current dollars which will be needed to provide Mississippi's public school students with an education that is adequate and efficient by contemporary standards. This initiative is not intended to restrict or meaningfully reduce the overall percentage of general fund revenues devoted to public schools, which at present is approximately 40% If enforcement is necessary, injunctive relief will be the preferred remedy.
One question worth asking is how much of the summary and additional explanation will be included in the constitution or carries the force of law if Initiative 42 passes.   One answer: Zero.  The summary and  explanation will not be inserted into the constitution if Initiative 42 is passed.  It will carry no force of law.  It is merely a recommendation.  It is nice, informative, and even educational in nature but it carries no force of law.   A chancellor can consider it when adjudicating a case but he can also completely ignore it if he so desires.  In other words, it is not controlling.  Constitutional fluff.    That is not a criticism of the summary and recommendation but simply a statement of fact about its status in court. 

The amendment also states that suits shall take place in the Chancery Courts of Mississippi.  However, state law directs that such suits be filed in Hinds County. 

However, the legislature passed an alternative proposed amendment that will appear next to Initiative 42:

Section 201: The Legislature shall, by general law, provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of an effective system of free public schools upon such conditions and limitations as the Legislature may prescribe.

Those are the two proposed constitutional amendments.  This fight should be a good one. 

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know, if school districts received more funding, how would that give my child a better education? It seems that every time districts get more funding, all that happens is that new football stadiums get built, central offices get new furniture, teachers attend more conferences, and my child receives more homework since the school receives a larger copy paper budget, but my child does not a better education.

Anonymous said...

When is it better that spending of public funds is controlled by one county's chancery court system rather than each county's elected representatives? Never.

Anonymous said...

There is no way in hell either 42 or 42A will pass. No way. Neither will get the requisite number of votes. Read the referendum law on the number of votes required to pass either proposal. The height of the bar the clearance of which is required to alter or amend our Constitution is enormously high AND RIGHTFULLY SO.

Anonymous said...

simple solution.....keep your children out of the pathetic public schools in this State.

Anonymous said...

"My child does not a better education." Rich with irony.

Anonymous said...

@11:26
It's not a simple as that. We all pay taxes to support public schools whether or not we have children attending them. The problem is some judge that I had not vote in electing will decide how to spend my tax dollars and can raise them on a whim. If my senator or representative does so, at least I can vote to remove him/her in the next election cycle. Can you say "taxation without representation?" Why would anyone want to give up the separation of powers and the specific powers, such as spending revenues, that was to the Legislative Branch, not the Judicial Branch? NOT ME!!

@11:21
I hope you are correct, but I'm afraid there are enough feel good Kool-Aid drinkers in this state that will vote for 42 just because they think throwing more money at education is the answer. Time has proven that more dollars is not the answer. Please encourage everyone to go vote and to vote NO to 42.

Anonymous said...

11:21 I agree. However, this initiative will drive voter turnout and get Hood re-elected and a couple of dem reps.

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when a state refuses to support public education. The People get fed up and try to change the Constitution by taking away the power of the purse from the politicians. If the politicians would do their job, they wouldn't be challenged by the proponents of 42. Does anyone seriously believe 42 would be worse than what we have today? Horrible results require dramatic change. Mississippi will continue to lag the nation in educational outcomes under the current status quo.

Anonymous said...

The "liberal Hinds County judge" is a red herring. Current law, not the Constitution, requires that such cases be tried in Hinds County. The legislature can amend that.

Anonymous said...

@11:25
What do you mean the state refuses to support public education? Over 60% of revenue goes to public schools. More $ does not mean better education.

Patsy Witch said...

October 13, 2015 at 12:05 PM = Yaaaawwwwnwnnnnn, Ssssssnnnnnoooorreeeee, Zzzzzzzzzzzz

Anonymous said...

I will vote for 42 but neither 42 or 42A will pass. The end result down the road will be much higher local property taxes. If the state does not fund the schools from statewide revenue sources, the only option left will be through local taxes. It would be better to face the problems now and find funding solutions than to complain in a few years that property taxes are 200%, 300% higher but that unfortunately is the direction we will be going.

Anonymous said...

12:05 You could exceed Baltimore's funding (2nd highest in country) per student and probably not see any statistical change in quality. Theoretically, the only solution would be for the government to place 45% of all students in boarding schools and raise them. I am not in agreement with spending over 60% of states budget on public schools and I hope most people in this state agree.

Anonymous said...

The revenue source language is informative in that it shows that the republican legislators that have started the PIC that is against 42 are using scare tactics of slashed agency budgets and "wealth redistribution" erroneously. The proposed funding scheme by the initiative, while not binding, shows that there is away that the legislature can obey the law and fund the initiative without all of the doomsday "slash and burning" these legislators are touting will result from its passage. If the legislature goes on to drastically cut goods and services like it threatens, the people once again should speak by voting these people out.

No one judge in Hinds County will decide to redistribute any tax dollars from one district to another. Any decisions made by the judge would be appealed to the State Supreme Court (a 'la the ballot language case), that is comprised of judges from all over the state. Besides, if people are afraid of one judge deciding how to fund schools, then tell their legislators to obey the law and fully fund MAEP. If you don't want to go before a judge, don't break the law.

Just as 12:05 has noted, whatever alternative the legislature has proposed hasn't worked to move the needle on educational quality for all of the students in MS. While I agree that funds alone won't create world class schools, world class schools can't be had without proper funding.

Anonymous said...

Sorry 12:26 PM, the schools are funded.

Anonymous said...

... and fully fund MAEP.

MAEP isn't mentioned anywhere in the ballot initiative.

The proposed funding scheme by the initiative ...

Carries no legal weight.

golferinmississippi said...

I think worst part of the problem with this whole "42" issue isn't about the schools at all. The reason, that I think it's a bad deal is there is only so much money. If 42 puts it in the hands of someone that says it has to be spent in education, that's going to pull money from SEVERAL other State Agencies and Departments.

It's like the scene from the movie Bruce Almighty. Jim Carey wants to "lasso the moon and pull it closer" ala It's a Wonderful Life to make it big & beautiful for Jennifer Anniston, but he finds out the next day, that caused massive tidal problems all around the world, with flooding etc.

If we look at this in the silo of education, yes, the children are the future, and we should provide all we can, but at what expense. This is like the O'Henry story, The Gift of the Magi. We must be prudent, frugal managers of the State's funds. The Department of Ed, should be revamped financially, then once it's righted and no longer hemorrhaging money (redundancies in administration, etc) then we can look at the next step.

Anonymous said...

If 42 passes, maybe it will force the legislature to make the tough political choices it needs to make to adequately fund schools under the formula, e.g., school consolidation and trimming of a top heavy administrative structure. It can be seen as a "liberal' means to a "conservative" end.

At a theoretical level it's nice to have debates about how the legislature can do that (trim costs via consolidation and cutting of administration) without an enforcement mechanism existing in the courts, but they haven't done so yet and I highly doubt that the legislature, without having its hands forced by the courts, is going to make the tough political decisions it needs to make. Each representative will continue to protect its little fiefdom and continue to get re-elected. The tough decisions will forever be kicked down the road.

Maybe that unintended consequence of 42's possibly passing it what is discomforting, in part, some legislators.

Anonymous said...

And charter schools won't siphon off our tax dollars?

Anonymous said...

Why would I want a Hinds County Judge, who I have no voting rights for, have any say in my children's education. All Hinds County wants is more power to make the "City With Soul" into a trashier place than it already is. Is anyone stupid enough to really believe, other than Jacksonian's, that tourists other than the few minority conventions that come here, actually are interested in pawn shops, tatoo parlors, hair weave salons or dirty stores and over priced eateries? No need to get into crime on every corner, pants on the ground, and inability to speak English.

Anonymous said...

The real problem is the funding of education in this state in general. Far too many students at the community college level don't pay a dime, and in fact get money back. This also happens at the four-year college level. Delta State does not charge out-of-state tuition!

Let's make real progress and get the state out of two-year collegiate transfer schools and make community colleges focus on trades. (especially with all the online courses..) People should pay to go to a university--but lets be realistic in having the students pay more.

and consolidate school districts. we have far too many principals and assistant principals and not enough teachers!

Vote No or Yes on Either or Both But Yes, Then No said...

The 'current status quo' as opposed to ............?

By the way, not ALL public schools are pathetic, 11:26. Your head is up your ass.

Anonymous said...

This is an easy vote - no to both. Some of these chancery judges are flat out clueless - I would never enshrine constitutional power to them for anything.

For those interested here is how it is supposed to go:If two conflicting measures are approved at a single election, the measure receiving more affirmative votes supersedes the other. Once an amendment petition has been delivered to the Mississippi State Legislature, lawmakers may choose to pass an amended version of the measure. In this case, both measures appear on the ballot. However, unlike ordinary conflicting measures, they are bracketed together and presented to voters in two unique questions. First, voters are asked to vote on whether they prefer either of the measures or neither measure. Second, voters are asked to vote on whether they prefer the original measure or the legislative amendment. Voters who vote to chose "either of the measures" in the first question are required to vote on the second for their vote to count. Voters who vote for neither measure can, but need not, vote on the second question.

If the majority of voters on the questions prefer "either measure" to "neither measure," then the votes on the second question are considered. In this case, the version of the measure that receives a majority of the second vote will prevail. However, the number of affirmative votes in favor of the majority-approved version, original or legislative, must still be equal to 40 percent of all voters who cast a ballot in the election. This is the state's ordinary supermajority requirement for initiated measures.

The purpose of this process is to allow "no" voters to express a preference on competing measures. This helps ensure that any measure that passes over a competing measure is also preferred over the other by the majority of voters, including those who would prefer that neither measure be enacted.

So you could vote no to both, and then also vote for 42A to try and derail 42.

My own gut feeling is that 55% of the vote is going to vote neither, and 42A votes will take 20% of the yes votes, enough from 42 to take it under 40%.

Anonymous said...

So you could vote no to both, and then also vote for 42A to try and derail 42.

Yes, No to both and 42A on the second question.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi obviously needs to improve its education system. But when we look at the end results of our education system - college entry rates, dropout rates, job market readiness, literacy, etc. - we need to keep in mind that the schools can't possibly be 100% responsible for all outcomes. There are only 180 school days in a year and students are only at school for 7 hours a day, if they stay in school at all.

The average student at Madison High School goes on to college while the average student at Provine doesn't even graduate. What is the average Madison High School student doing for the other half of the year when he isn't in school? What about the average Provine student? We talk about improving the schools for kids like the one at Provine without much regard for what his life is like in the other half of the year when he isn't in school. Throwing more money at the schools isn't going to solve this problem. Something also needs to be done to improve kids' lives outside of the classroom. I wish I knew how to fix it, but the problem goes deeper than the (admittedly poor) quality of the public schools.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Fish, what percentage of the vote is needed to pass 42?

12:37, its a poor argument in support of 42 that we have the Supreme Court to break us out of the tyranny of the Hinds Co Chancery Court. "There's a way to get out of the tyranny this causes" is really an argument in support of 42? Wow.

Anonymous said...

I saw a chart recently that illustrated that in Mississippi, funding level has no effect on educational attainment. Low rated schools actually spent far more per student overall than higher rated schools.

Unfortunately, our school system is run for the benefit of the adults ( superintendents, bureaucrats, consultants etc.) rather than the benefit of the children.

Anonymous said...

If "they" want to force something to be done, force parental participation and give the schools back the power to discipline (with some real teeth in it.)

Anonymous said...

I'm sad to say, that even as a very liberal democrat, 42 is not the answer. Throwing money at a system wherein the flaws are endemic does not remedy anything. And giving power to a Chancery Court judge is just a half-assed approach to the problem, when the structure of the entire state system needs to change.

All I see this doing is pulling money from state agencies that have already been asked to trim budgets multiple times, and putting it in the pockets of already overpaid school administrators that don't have a clue how to really fix what is going on.

What we need are creative solutions, not expensive ones. Hell, I think putting more money towards DHS would do more for schools than putting money in the schools. The issues with Mississippi education begin at home.

Anonymous said...

2:11 - you have defined the problem beautifully. MONEY will NOT fix the problems in Mississippi public schools. When we look at some of our most articulate and accomplished leaders in US history NONE had access to the amount of money poured into public education today, with ever declining results. The Gettysburg address was written by a man with no formal education. Many of our founders had no formal education. Do we really believe spending additional money can fix the problem? I certainly do not, and will vote NO to 42. Just another money grab by the libs, and those naive enough to fall for the "if we just spend more money" argument.

Anonymous said...

http://kidsfirstms.org/news/scheme-to-take-education-funding-authority-from-legislators-spells-trouble-for-mississippi-taxpayers-forbes/

Anonymous said...

@2:35,

Who said having a judge decide the fate of illegal arrangements or individuals that break the law is tyranny? Under 42, the legislature still decides how to fund education, it would just be illegal to underfund it. If the legislature decides to underfund education, thus breaking the law, then the issue is adjudicated in court, with an appeal to the Supreme Court possible, just like in any other case. That's just American Jurisprudence 101, hardly a tyranny.

I brought it up to note that the argument that a "Hinds County (read "Black") Judge will control educational funding and policy" is an egregious misrepresentation of the facts of this matter, and in fact is just not true.

Anonymous said...

By design, the ballot is very confusing. Good Ole boy, thug politics at its best.

Little wonder we are the laughing stock of the nation.

Anonymous said...

This tidbit in the Mississippi Constitution may, or may not, play into how things work out:

SECTION 172-A.
Neither the Supreme Court nor any inferior court of this state shall have the power to instruct or order the state or any political subdivision thereof, or an official of the state or a political subdivision, to levy or increase taxes.

Anonymous said...

While I'll be the first to agree that money alone isn't the solution to the educational crisis in MS, many respondents are insinuating , by claiming things like "the problems start in the home" and "take 45% of the children and put them in boarding schools and raise them", that the educational achievement disparities are somehow cultural and endemic to the disaffected populations of MS. Many of these disparities are economic or political in nature. To be sure, much of the social inequities we see in this state, especially along class and racial lines, have their impetus in historic and political policies, practices, and norms that have served to inequitably distribute human, social, political and fiscal capital. These things characterize the contexts under which the disaffected in MS must live and grow (or not grow). One of these practices, the underfunding of education, is a vestige of a morally bankrupt system of resource distribution known as Jim Crow segregation.

Underfunding public schools really came into the forefront in MS as segregated schools were ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 1954. Around that time, there were attempts at maintaining a "separate but equal" public school system that proved not to meet constitutional muster. Every since then, the political leadership of this state has sought ways to not fully fund the schools, with the latest MAEP underfunding scheme evidence of this thinking. The lack of quality schooling has characterized economic development in many parts of the state, driving first whites and then even middle class blacks out of many communities due to perceived inadequate education their children would receive in their integrated, but underfunded, public schools. Thus, leaving behind communities without the fiscal and social capital to support truly world-class public schooling.

So, if there be any concern about the upbringing, culture, ability or motivation for many in these communities to support the education of their children, we must also consider the reality that poverty in MS is mostly generational and therefore cyclical, born out of state policies and practices designed to deprive people of their fundamental human right to be productive, educated, and self-sustaining individuals. These communities full of poor and lowly educated people don't just happen by chance. And if we do not invest in them, it will be to the peril of the whole state. If only the political leaders in the legislature understood this, perhaps we could truly attend to some creative and effective solutions, not just petty political bullying and belly-aching.

Anonymous said...

If it passes I wonder what "freakonomics" will pop up further down the road. Like when crime rates in large cities took a drop in the 90's. It had nothing to do with crime fighting but bc of Roe vs Wade making abortion legal and lower income demographics, the same that commit most of the crimes, started decreasing due to the availability of abortions.
42 passing could result in things like an increase in drunk driving deaths because we can't fund trooper schools, the closing of state parks or our new civil rights museum, or crappy musical acts at the fair...oh, wait...

Dumbasses Abound said...

3:30: Thanks for that; however, the ballot initiative proposes a constitutional amendment, which means it amends what you posted? See how that works?

Anonymous said...

Here's a novel suggestion: fund the schools via 42 AND reform them.. Not mutually exclusive. Consolidate districts to 10 or so, pay good teachers a lot more (there is no union) and get rid of the dead weight. Etc. Rather than doing this basically all the state's politicians (not "leaders," politicians) do is bitch and nibble at the edges.

Alternatively, don't fund at all since according to logic of many on here public schools and poor black kids and white kids (80% of whom attend public schools) are a lost cause. I'm sure many of you will jump all over this last option.

Anonymous said...

Here's a novel suggestion: fund the schools via 42 AND reform them.. Not mutually exclusive. Consolidate districts to 10 or so, pay good teachers a lot more (there is no union) and get rid of the dead weight. Etc. Rather than doing this basically all the state's politicians (not "leaders," politicians) do is bitch and nibble at the edges.

Alternatively, don't fund at all since according to logic of many on here public schools and poor black kids and white kids (80% of whom attend public schools) are a lost cause. I'm sure many of you will jump all over this last option.

Anonymous said...

4:04 - Jackson Free Press is calling. Give them the following results from the May 13, 2015 3rd Grade reading assessment test results for all Mississippi public schools: http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/docs/communications-library/mkas2-statewide-final-results-_updated.pdf?sfvrsn=2

Take a look at the schools in Greenville, there is one that had more failures than passing. Look across the Delta and the river counties. Same story over and over- passing rates in the mid 60% to mid 70% range ( number of schools had more failures than passing). JPS same story except - three had only a 53% pass rate. In the same school district you had two schools, McWillie and Davis Magnet, who both got a 100% pass. Sadly the 100% pass were very few statewide.

You seem to think more money will solve this problem? You are correct about one thing, it is generational. Due to our great society programs we are now on generation four in some cases. No employment since the mechanization of cotton. But these generational casualties remain in the same place and live off welfare programs. Yet no one sees this as a problem? You seriously want to throw more money at a completely failed model? If we really want to help we should find a way to get these people to a state or city that has some actual chance of producing a job! Instead everyone wants to throw money at a problem that has no hope of solution using the same failed ideas/approach. These counties cannot even find teachers! We could double the salary, and we still couldn't find enough people to live in places with zero chance of improvement in the next 50 years. The horse is dead, stop beating it.

Anonymous said...

4:04 wants us to throw more money at places who have no reason to exist economically except welfare payments. The industry/jobs left two decades ago or more. I just cannot understand people who want to keep people trapped in a never ending cycle of misery and poverty. Give them a way to leave. Don't keep them trapped in places with no hope of improvement or employment It is cruel and sick.

Consequences said...

What this Initiative would mean is that K - 12 funding is more important than:

colleges, transportation, corrections, DEQ, Medicaid, junior colleges, public safety, courts and everything else our state does...

Anonymous said...

@4:04 I do agree that we as a society need to invest in these communities. The people in the community need to mentor their young to instill morality, teach basic economics, and instill a work ethic so that kids can become real parents one day. Only until this is done will we see a change in educating these folks. The notion of a world class public school system is a term that I have only heard from Yarber when he was running for mayor. There are relatively few public schools across this country that would merit excellent schools by lowly U.S. standards. I'm waiting for the Mayor to explain to us how he intends to achieve this. Maybe he is waiting on 42...yea right.

Anonymous said...

DA at 6:15, 3:30 here...
The proposal is to amend Section 201. It does not mention amending or changing any other section of the constitution. One change in one location doesn't cause a change in another section.

My point was that there would be two conflicting sections, not to mention the violation of separation of powers principles outlined elsewhere (legislature appropriates funds, executive carries out laws, judicial interprets and applies law, etc).

Anonymous said...

Load up on gold and silver coins, guns and ammo.

Here it comes.

Do the right thing. Will you be ready for your family?

Anonymous said...

Throwing more money at an education system that rewards teachers who can't teach is beyond ludicrous. The folks who are screaming for passage of 42 are the same folks who think that we should reward substandard teachers for their inability to teach. Vote NO on initiative 42.

To Constitutional Genius At 9:10 said...

Deal With It......

Kingfish said...

There are counties with unwed birthrates of 80% or higher. Hinds is 70%. What that means is the kids are much less likely to be ready for school when they appear at the schoolhouse for the first time. It doesn't matter how much we spend on education if we don't do something about that problem.

NOW we can spend more money but if we want to adjust our schools to handle the large amount of kids who have broken homes and no real stability at home, then we need to take a page from some of the charter schools and make the days longer. That means keeping them in school til 4:30 or later. Either we can raise them there in the school or they can be raised on the streets. Kids want to learn if they are placed in the right environment. However, the people who want to spend more money on education rarely look at that side of the equation nor want to change the environment for those kids.

We can "fully fund" MAEP all day long for years to come but until we address that problem, most of the increased spending will be for naught.

Anonymous said...

I'm off to school to check my emails to see if there is yet another one, sent by administrators, to instruct me how to vote in favor of 42. Seriously?

Anonymous said...

You can throw as much money as you want into the education system, but it doesn't matter when the end-user has no desire for the product. By that I mean, when the parents don't give a rat's ass what kind of education their kids gets because they didn't get a proper education to know any better and the kids will model the attitude of the parents in most cases. See ----> http://kingfish1935.blogspot.com/2015/10/another-family-outing-in-crime.html
More kids = more checks. Those kids grow up to be check breeders themselves. The cycle continues. As they grow older we will see the cost of Medicaid and Medicare continue to balloon out of control and those of us that made a decision to pay attention in school, get a job, do what it takes for us to better ourselves are left paying for everything these leaches take.
I often have to interact with lower-income people and 90% of them that I encounter are very happy with how things are. They believe the world owes them and they should have whatever they want. But they are not the ones to blame. We are because we let it happen. We elected the people that cater to them. We are too worried about political correctness and hurting someone's feelings than actually making a change.
It's a very simple model - unless you control the hemorrhaging the body will die. All bleeding stops eventually.

Anonymous said...

So, teachers should be surrogate parents?

Anonymous said...

Rounded math: sample population, JPS
It costs $ 8,000 ( +\-) for each student every school year to attend a public school mostly because of admin costs. To account for unforeseen costs and to adjust for inflation, we'll round that up to $10,000 for every child.
Said child completes every grade with success and graduates not including kindergarten/ pre-school. Grades 1-12. You arrive at wallah, $120,000.00
To incarcerate an individual for 365 days costs double that same yearly amount ( +/-) vs. public education.
For the sake of simplicity, a lot of educators have turned to the dichotomy of 'educate or incarcerate' which is a great way to look at the macrocosm, however, when you look at the microcosm of each individual, things aren't quite that simple.

Now, let's assume that JPS is the worst example of them all as it is the most visible.
Throwing more money at a system that rewards failure ( literally) at the highest levels will do no good and simply add a more expensive bandaid to cover a huge wound infected with staph. If throwing money at problems solved things, one might say that we'd be living in utopia by now.

As for the ideologues that believe education is inculcated in the home, tax payers aren't directly financing parents for the child's education. They're financing the schools which have sadly been turned into the gov't babysitter more or less and teachers have begrudgingly accepted this stark reality.

All of this and more unwritten brings me to my point, and KF has hinted as much: we need to change the system entirely in MS. Not only are the tax payers being ripped a new one, but the students are being given a rotten deal. The third grade reading gate was a start. We now have charter schools in which we can draw proven ideas from.

I'm for reform of the entire system. We'll always have to pay for it, so creative improvement is the best approach. Both initiatives are moot as they do not address the fact that the entire system in this state as a whole is a failure, fully funded or not.

Parental involvement certainly helpsin any child in any endeavor, but then again, that's not what tax payers are paying for.

Anonymous said...

Teachers pay should be cut across the board to a level with first responders.

Anonymous said...

Hello 8:20AM, teacher are ALREADY surrogate parents! Ask any public school teacher. And I agree Kingfish, you can dump all the money in the world into the schools but until something is done to address the real issues...unstable home environments and rampant teen pregnancy, nothing will help these lost generations.

On 42...seriously, trust the Hinds County chancellors to make these calls? There are some that would be just fine with handling the matter, but it would be scary for some of the others to do so. And, who knows what chancellors will be elected in the future? Keeping it out of the courts and with the legislature is really the only option. Not a great option because the legislature hardly seems to be able to function as is but there does not seem to be a better alternative.

I don't know how the social issues will be addressed with family values seeming to be non-existent anymore. How do you regain those values which have been lost on so many generations of entitled nitwits?

Anonymous said...

Again, I have noted that money is not the cure all for the educational crisis in MS. Reforms are needed, in schools and in communities. The interesting thing about 42 is that opponents are willing to continue to sacrifice the quality of education at all public schools because of a negative perception of the people in more distressed communities. MS ranks at the bottom of most educational indices not only because of the Delta and Jackson. Students graduating from schools in Desoto, Madison, and communities on the coast all are handicapped by the lower standards and preparation for college permitted in MS to accommodate the low level of fiscal and human capital investment in the public schools of the state. Students from suburban communities must also compete with students from MA, NJ, and CA who are, year after year, more prepared for college and career simply because the level of investment in their education allows for more opportunity for enriching educational experiences that simply can't be had on the cheap (one-to-one technology, innovative science lab experiences, coding classes and AP computer science courses, etc.). These offerings have nothing to do with the out-of-wedlock birth rate, but investments in education.

Education in MS is not just suffering for children born to parents who are not married or live in distressed communities. Education is suffering all around the state. What we do in MS is lower the bar, both in standards and assessments, so as to appease locals and lead them to believe that Tyrone and Sally are better prepared for college based on test scores, which are inflated so as to make the ineffective educational policies, too characterized by ideology and not informed enough by expertise and research, seem like they are working. Dr. Carey wright, state Supt. of Ed., has gone on record noting that the pass score on the 3rd grade gate test is so low that we can't guarantee that children who have passed it are actually reading at a 3rd grade level. This was due to the law that noted that passing simply meant basic proficiency. This happens all the time with testing in MS. The passing scores are so low, that the tests are really meaningless. This contributes to why so many of our high school graduates end up either at community colleges or in remedial courses at 4 year schools, because the high school and the state test really did not prepare them to be successful academically in a truly competitive environment.

Ultimately, we here in MS must stop putting our heads in the sand. The segregation and classist perceptions of many skew how we actually see our social challenges and each other. If we think that the educational crisis in MS is mainly about single mothers not raising children better, we will never actually come to real, workable solutions concerning education, economic and community development, or race relations, which is where the healing and transformation must truly begin.

Anonymous said...

Do any of you who regularly drop 500 words in the comment sections of these posts actually believe anyone reads your blathering? If you can't make a point succinctly, you're doing something wrong.

Anonymous said...

Tunica Schools have the best facilities in the state and the most benefits, free food, free breakfast, etc, AND YET, they are being taken over by the state.

More money does not equal better results.

Anonymous said...

More money does not equal better results, but better results can't happen without proper funding.

Anonymous said...

This would be funny if it weren't so sad.

Our unwed mother rate contributes to the cost and failure in our education system and dependence on Medicaid and welfare and the crime rate yet the same folks against Prop 42 are also against sex education, abortion and funding Planned Parenthood.

And, even though only 14% of Mississippians graduate from college and there are cities with larger populations, we have 4 state supported universities and I've lost count of how many community and junior college campuses and students can live on some of those campuses( unlike in other states)


Only 16.4% of the budget is supposed to be spent on K-12 ( it doesn't get fully funded, remember?) and 16.1% on higher education . 26.1% is spent on Medicaid and 26.7 % on "other" which are the two largest funding " functions".

And, by the way, GOP state government has run up the debt !




Anonymous said...

Turn off the damn spigot where these unwed mothers who can't support or take any responsibility for their kids are breeding like rabbits.

bill said...

9:28 you were making a little sense until you suggested that the education problems weren't mainly the fault of single mothers not raising their children better. It's actually parents in general, not just single mothers, who are at the core of the education shortfalls in Mississippi. This is proven every day. Poor kids do well when their parents are supportive of them and rich kids do badly when their parents aren't. Additional funding will get new furniture for the administrative offices but it won't have any impact on what really needs to be addressed.

It's a Lost Cause... said...

It's a lost cause. When society started celebrating unplanned pregnancies, unmarried mothers and households without fathers, all immediately was lost.

In too many cases the public school classroom is little more than an extension of Head Start.

Not in all....but in many.

Anonymous said...

It's a Lost Cause

Yes, losing is a certainty when you give up and don't understand that what has changed can change again.

It's a losing cause when you won't try new ideas because old ones failed and when you keep supporting approaches you know failed ...both no help and helping in ways that don't work. Failure is guaranteed when you stop trying.

And, it's a lost cause if so many in Mississippi don't bother getting the facts. Look at the percentages and look at what our also poor neighbors are doing with more people.

I've heard the same mantra for decades and it's gotten worse so why haven't y'all " gotten" it yet?

Oh, But One Day It Will All Change... said...

2:21; I've been at it for over 50 years. How about you? It's not a matter of giving up without trying. It's a matter of realizing the dragon has too many heads and we need to get the hell away and leave him to his own devices.

How many democrat approaches do you intend to roll over for? How many 'new ideas' can you fist-bump and cheer for? There comes a time when it's shit or get off the pot. You're the kind of person who will now root for Bernie Sanders to have a shot at the problem.

Anonymous said...

Evil people - Lyndon Johnson, Ted Kennedy, decades of bureaucrats - deliberately manipulated the system to destroy the black community (correctly judging it the most susceptible)to imprison them politically (a massively successful campaign). The black leadership of the last 50 years have been the true "Uncle Toms" who for a little $ have doomed millions of black children to a very dark life and future. Their rings in hell are justifiably deep. Pitiful.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how you decide what you approve for posting or refuse to post...

A friend actually submitted a comment today that has not been posted - so we're assuming it was not "approved". My question for you, Kingfish: Do you choose not to post things you disagree with or things that may spark too much debate? Just what IS your criteria?

The comment made was that teachers should take pay cuts across the board so they are paid the same thing that first responders are paid.....

Why was that censored??

Kingfish said...

Found it. It was in the spam folder. Thanks for notifying me. It happens. As you can see, it is now posted.

Last Responder said...

Somebody actually wasted time suggesting that teachers should be paid the same as first responders? By first responder do you mean firemen? Policeman? Ambulance Attendant? The volunteer fireman from Lukey's Repair Shop? Civil Defense Volunteer? Bucket Brigade?

While some of those have attended annual classes and a few have been through a semester at a junior college, most teachers have spent between four and eight years in a college classroom with from 10 to 40 years in the teaching trenches. And many of them still are paid under 40k per year.

A better suggestion might be to pay teachers on par with employees in the hospital emergency room at the RN and MD level.

Just a dumbass ambulance driver w a masters degree said...

@3:34 - Not to get off topic but your ignorant ass needs to learn some of the educational requirements that go into being a "first responder". BTW - it's fire fighter, police officer, paramedic (not ambulance attendant).
And if you wanted to pay teachers like ER MD's they wouldn't like that at all. Since ER MD's in most hospitals are paid more if a patient gets admitted to the hospital and even more if they go to ICU, we would pay teachers for only the students that actually graduate and pay more for those with higher grades, national merit scholar finalist and semi-finalists, etc.

Anonymous said...

I see where the presidents at MSU and USM have voiced concerns about higher education cuts if this passes. May be BS, but just wanted to pass this along...

Comparing Eggs and Fish Bait said...

8:27; If you're driving an ambulance with a master's degree, that sorta speaks for itself. Pray tell, in what field is that master's degree?

I have trained first responders on the 'industrial employment level'. All of them are high school graduates, at most, but fine employees.

Not to denigrate fire department personnel, but, all of them are first responders and typically they have a high school education or maybe a year of junior college unrelated to their profession. But, they're fine people and great at what they do.

If you actually believe an educator with a master's degree in early childhood development or special education (with six to eight years of post-secondary education) ought to make the same wage as a volunteer fireman who goes through an annual 3-hour course on CPR and Pulmonary Function Testing, I really can't help you with your failed logic.

Comparing worms to caviar said...

If you actually believe that education ought to determine how much money you make, then you need to continue voting Democrat.

If you believe that the market determines what people make, then you can reason.

People do not become educators or firefighters or emts or LEO to make money. They are paid a living to do something they want to do. If you have to have a master's degree in early childhood development or special education in order to teach, then you need to re-evaluate your life choices.

Please consider where the cart and the horse are. Requiring someone to get a master's degree to make $30K per year with no hopes of making much more than twice that is not a problem with funding education. It's a problem with how this country has removed the middle class aspirations and replaced them with everybody can be a professional. Hence you have the mission creep of requiring more and more education, that does not enhance the ability or knowledge for the hired.

Our technology, information and foundation for eduction is changing entirely too fast for someone to think that anything they learn in 6 years of post-secondary education will be applicable by the time they get to apply all of that "education."

Our entire education process is broken and higher education is what has broke it. College degrees are the GEDs of our current life and future, until We wake up.

Anonymous said...

7:16- Sorry to burst your bubble but firemen/paramedics go through way more physical and medical training, and continuing refresher courses than a teacher or even a college professor. Bluntly put, you screw up a lesson, the kid flunks and re-takes the course...big deal! The firefighter screws up and your ass or your kids ass is in a coffin. Now..who would YOU pay more. Of course you say...the teacher! Smart move Einstein, no wonder our kids priorities are so messed up. Your a BIG contributing factor.

Anonymous said...

I will try to be brief.
This is a stunningly bad idea.

Anonymous said...

@7:16: Since you have a need to know - I have a Masters degree but I also work part-time as a paramedic simply because I enjoy being able to help people. My paramedic education was much, much harder than my graduate education. I hope that I've qualified myself enough for you because I just don't think I would be able to bear it if I hadn't.

My Masters degree relates to my full-time job training first responders across this state and country. It is not required and I earned it spending my own time and money knowing that I would not get a larger return on investment compared to others. I did it because I wanted to be the best that I can be for those that I train and the people with whom I work.

The second part of my original comment was that maybe teachers should have pay incentives based on merit and not just showing up.

42 = more taxes, less jobs, more lawsuits, money for trail lawyers. Every state that has passed similar initiatives have only seen an increase in lawsuits and no benefit to education.

Hope that pulls things back to topic.

Anonymous said...

money for trail lawyers

If we could only keep more lawyers out on the trail........

Anonymous said...

7:09- Congratulations on your hard work and very smart planning. If for any reason, you become injured and unable to fully perform duties on a rig, you have the ability to choose another path in your chosen field. Some jobs teach us the human body, mind and soul are not invisible. They also allow us to view, teach and prepare us ourselves for things which we have no control over. Please remember 7:16, to take out your graduate "reference books" when you have a medical emergency, don't call a firefighter, police or ambulance. Remember your attitude when your trapped in your car or are bleeding out after a campus shooting. I ONLY have a Paramedic Certification!

someoneinnorthms said...

I believe the true aim of 42 is to be a Lawyer Full Employment Act.

I don't generally practice civil law, but it seems to me that local school boards are in jeopardy if this passes. If little Johnny doesn't get his diploma for academic reasons (or perhaps even disciplinary reasons), he might be able to sue the local school board if 42 passes. If the State doesn't provide an adequate and efficiently-delivered education to little Johnny, and he should happen to fail academically, why should he not be able to sue the school board for failing to provide him such an education? And, why wouldn't injunction lie with the remedy's being judicially granting him a diploma anyway? After all, how could little Johnny be expected to pass when the odds were stacked against him by his receiving an inadequate and inefficiently-delivered education? If it's his fundamental constitutional right (as the language would make it) to receive this education, what other relief is available if it is NOT provided? Fundamental constitutional rights do not exist for the state or for school districts; they exist for the citizens governed by the organic document which creates, defines, or recognizes the rights. Thus, the fundamental constitutional right belongs to individual students, NOT to an amorphous institution such as "the schools."

And, guess what? If a student is denied a fundamental constitutional right, it would seem likely that attorney's fees would be in order. Jus' sayin'.

I'm a lawyer. I understand that lots of lawyers (and even many out-of-state lawyers) are backing the passage of 42. When too many lawyers agree on something, you should probably grab your wallet or pocketbook for protection.

I won't lie. I oppose 42, but if it passes, I'll be lining up lots of little Johnnys to make the courts give them diplomas and me money.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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