Time is of the essence for Legislature


By Becky Trask

Congregations for Children

Time is running out for both our Mississippi legislators and, most importantly, time is running out for our children. The 2006 legislative session for the state of Mississippi is in its 52nd day, and more than 2,000 bills came before the members of the legislature for consideration. Many of those bills never made it out of committee, and for those that did, it is only a matter of time before the vote is cast in favor or against each bill. Each day brings another battle for funds and another battle over which issue will reign this year.

For children attending schools that are inadequately funded, each day brings another day without basic school supplies, another day with shared textbooks, another day with overcrowded classrooms and another day with insurmountable obstacles to learning.

Time is of the essence for these children. The time will come, in the next six weeks, when our legislators will vote on whether to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. This program, with all of its complexities, allows our children to learn in the best possible situation and enables our teachers to teach in the best possible situation.

Our elected legislators must decide whether the other funding priorities of the state are more important than creating these best possible situations for our children and their teachers. Granted, the funding needs of the state are great – they were great before Hurricane Katrina, and even greater after Hurricane Katrina.

It is our responsibility as people of faith to encourage our elected representatives to fully fund the MAEP – to allow our students to have the best environment possible for learning. It is part of our heritage and discipline as United Methodists to support public education – to support the forum in which all of God’s children can learn, regardless of where they live, regardless of their ability to pay and regardless of their status in society. We believe that every child deserves a quality education, and we support our local schools with our community outreach projects, our prayers, and our after school programs. It is important that we take the next step to ensure that our schools are able to continue to provide this education.

In the coming days of the legislative session, please make a phone call to your representative and senator to encourage them to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education program.