Bigger Pie Forum believes a well-trained and educated work force is critical to the success of any community. BPF's agenda to ensure that all students receive a quality education is centered on four tenets: teachers matter; curriculum counts; choice and competition work; and accountability and innovation are essential.
The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has 550 employees, the highest paid state superintendent of education nationally and a budget this upcoming year of $181 million for the department. So why, when asked by the Legislature, couldn’t MDE provide the correct number of teachers across the state that would receive the intended raise?
The debate in Mississippi over K-12 education spending has always been based on the idea that taxpayers aren’t spending enough and the state is falling behind the rest of the nation as a result. The debate on K-12 education spending not only needs to be about how much is spent, but also on where that money goes.
College students and recent graduates are not the only ones having trouble paying off tuition debt. It turns out, the Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition (MPACT) program is in deep trouble with the tuition contracts they are obligated to meet.
Do we spend enough on K-12 education in Mississippi? First, we need to clear up how much state and federal taxpayers spend in total on public schools.
Until performance improves, Mississippi will lag behind other states in economic growth as the workers of tomorrow aren’t adequately prepared for the jobs of the future, especially in the STEM field. An educated workforce is key to luring new industry and convincing entrepreneurs that Mississippi is the best place to start a thriving business.
Public education advocates have always wanted more K-12 education spending, but more spending hasn’t paid off. Mississippi ACT composite scores since 2013 have either declined or remained constant, down from a high of 19 in 2015. Mississippi policymakers need to see this as a call to action to improve the results of K-12 education. If the state’s education system can’t create an educated workforce able to thrive in the economy of tomorrow, we’ll continue to fall behind other states.