In this video, MSNBC explores the dreadful state of Mississippi public schools, whose budgets have been slashed in a bout of fiscal austerity by the Republican Governor, Phil Bryant, and the Republican-controlled state legislature. Since 2009, Mississippi public schools have been underfunded by $1.5 billion dollars, with terrible consequences for a state that really needs it.
One teaching assistant says that “There’s so many schools do not have textbooks, do not have basic infrastructure that is conducive for learning. In our elementary school, we have leaky classrooms and the roof has not been replaced in 30 years.”
A superintendent remarks that Mississippi has “some of the least number of people’s with bachelors, one of the highest dropout rates in the nation, and some of the lowest paid teachers in the country.” The situation is so bad that teachers must pay for school supplies out of their own pockets.
The $1.3 billion that was cut from school budgets ended up being redirected in tax subsidies for Nissan, who operates a car plant in the area. The cuts have crippled the public schools, creating poor test results which then are used by the Republicans to push for privatization and the corruption that accompanies school voucher systems. It’s an atrocious failure by local government to care for the children of Mississippi, who deserve better than what the GOP will ever offer.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.