“The road out of poverty runs by the schoolhouse” – Former Mississippi Governor William Winter
We could use several of Beyoncé’s most popular song titles to describe the themes for this week’s update: “Irreplaceable,” “Drunk in Love,” “Déjà Vu,” You choose. Ideally, the comparison would end there. Beyoncé is an entertainer who’s paid handsomely for her killer songs and tireless live performances. In contrast, our legislature is paid by taxpayer dollars, and come 2019, if you don’t like the job that elected officials are doing, you can vote for someone that more squarely aligns with your ideals and those of your community.
Education and the proposed spending formula was the hot-button issue debated on the House floor. Before we recap that debate, an abbreviated history lesson on how we got here in the first place is beyond necessary. (This isn’t a complete history lesson on Education in Mississippi, of course; it’s just a snapshot.)
- Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka – A 1954 landmark Supreme Court case and decision determined “separate but equal” education and services offered no real equity in segregated schools. In fact, it determined, things weren’t equal at all. Schools across the nation were mandated to end segregation and welcome students of all races the opportunity and access to education that all white children were afforded—the same education, books, teachers, extracurricular activities that had been afforded white children for decades.
In Mississippi, unlike (or maybe just like) some other states, this caused a disturbance amongst the white community. “How dare those negro children be allowed to attend the same schools as their children?” Many Delta counties refused to abide by the law. In comes the newly formed white supremacist organization known as the Citizen’s Council who sponsored private academies and private schools followed. The history and resistance to funding education in Mississippi for any school district, which is primarily Black remains a problem today. In essence, there was what exists today, and it has managed to do what was done more than 60 years ago—continue the inequitable treatment of c