The important issues in the Mississippi governor’s race are buried under a rubbish heap of simplistic and strident attack ads. Whether via loud television commercials or gaudy junk mail, we are inundated by buzz words and half-truths. We hear only mindless, amateurish rhetoric that doesn’t even attempt to address the critical, indeed desperate, needs of Mississippi.
It could be argued that the Democrats and Republicans are about equally guilty, except for one fact. Republican Tate Reeves has much more money than Democrat Jim Hood. Thus, Reeves has contributed more to the towering, smelly garbage pile than Hood.
How should voters decide?
What, then, should a voter consider in deciding how to choose a governor next week, Tuesday, November 5, 2019?
That Mississippi is 49th or 50th out of the 50 states in most rankings that reflect our quality of life is the unavoidable, ugly fact.
What is the element — the one, the only thing — that has the long term power to turn that around? PUBLIC EDUCATION; a simple truth, a self-evident truth.
One candidate is a proven enemy of public education
Public education in Mississippi has improved a lot since Governor Winter rammed the “1982 Education Reform Act” through the state legislature.
However, Lieutenant-Governor Tate Reeves, this year’s Republican candidate for governor, has been successful for eight years in bringing that progress to a halt. What does Reeves promise if we award him four years in the Governor’s Mansion? More — and worse — of the same.
For eight years as lieutenant-governor and presiding officer of the state senate, Reeves has blocked every effort to bring public education funding up to the minimum level promised in the state’s own laws.
Reeves wants to divert public school tax money from public schools to private schools, using vouchers and other clever devices. He has even succeeded in doing it, in a limited way. He makes no secret of his intention to do even more, if given the power to do so.
It will take more than money
This is not to argue that simply putting in more money will give Mississippi the excellent public education system it needs and can afford. It will require leadership courage — courage to battle mediocrity; courage to get rid of incompetent administration that exists at so many levels and in so many place in Mississippi’s school establishment; courage to pull some teeth and claws in the teachers’ union. I do not argue that either of the candidates in the governor’s race has the vision and leadership skills it will take to make Mississippi’s schools the best in the country.
However, it’s a dead certainty that Reeves, with his crude hostility to the concept of public education, will try to lead a tragic march backwards.
The icing on the Reeves cake
Perhaps the most egregious proof of Reeves’ perfidy can be found in one of the television commercials he has run during the current gubernatorial campaign. In the commercial Reeves unctuously mouths his support for public education, but here’s the kicker. He made the commercial on the campus of a private school, one that had given him thousands of dollars in campaign contributions–a private school, not accountable to the taxpayers, to which Reeves has already successfully diverted a relatively small amount of your tax money.
By his words and deeds, Tate Reeves is demonstrably an enemy of public education. This is a hard fact even he cannot refute, except when denying it behind his famous vacuous grin.
Can we afford such a slippery, sly serpent in the governor’s office?
Other problems with Reeves: https://www.nemiss.news/passing-the-buck-mississippi-rant/
Readers interested in learning more about a Mississippi governor who did great things for public education may be interested in this documentary about the life and public career of William Winter, Mississippi’s 58th governor: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=the+toughest+job+william+winter%27s+mississippi+2014&view=detail&mid=94F27B5CAA0F5E00B2F994F27B5CAA0F5E00B2F9&FORM=VIREMS politics, New Albany MS, public education