SUN HERALD | Editorial: Mississippi voters should approve Initiative 42 to improve schools


It's a matter of trust. Mississippi's Republican leaders say trust them to get Mississippi off the bottom of most education measures. They urge people to vote against Initiative 42 and they've done everything in their power to stack the deck against it.

Initiative 42 supporters argue a change in Mississippi's Constitution would hold the Legislature accountable, in a court if necessary, for providing the education prescribed by its own law, the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.

It's clear state officials don't like the idea of being hauled into court. Initiative 42 supporters say lawmakers won't land in court if they follow the law.

The fact is, school funding has been to court before, starting in 1819. Since then, according to the Education Law Center, plaintiffs have challenged education funding in 45 states, winning about two-thirds of the cases in the past 22 years.

We hope Mississippians don't have to resort to litigation to improve our school funding system, but we want our education system off the bottom.

Because when it rises, we all will benefit. Good schools are crucial to a growing economy.

One of the first things prospective businesses and employees want to know is, "How good are the schools?"

Given Mississippi's abysmal ranking, we have to wonder how many don't even bother asking.

But if they do, they will be surprised to find out how good schools are on the Coast.

And even on the Coast, school superintendents tell us they are struggling financially.

State leaders ask you to trust them, they will put aside political differences and fix this.

They have had years and years to fix it. They haven't.

We trust Initiative 42 will ensure public education is adequately funded. We recommend you cut through the noise and confusion and vote for Initiative 42.

This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions expressed by columnists, cartoonists and letter writers are their own.