Monday, April 27, 2015

Republicans Want An Issue and Offer No Solution

If you need another example of how the Republicans have no idea what they are doing on education policy, let's take a look at what they were up to today. Having had his feelings hurt by Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, Governor Phil Bryant retreated to the warm embrace of his talk radio protectors. During this morning's interview, Bryant discussed why he vetoed a bill which would have established a study committee to review our state's education standards which have been on the books since Republican Haley Barbour was governor.

Phil Bryant opposes our current education standards which challenge students to learn new math and reading skills and wants them to be replaced, but he has provided no examples of what he would like to see instead. This is one of those instances of wanting an issue to fight about and campaign on rather than offering a solution. Bryant even admitted there is no agreement between him and his fellow Republicans on what to do, proving once again that they have no idea what they're doing.

By setting Mississippi on the chaotic course he wants, Governor Bryant is hurting Mississippi in the fast-paced competition for better jobs. As a reminder, Mississippi still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. It makes no sense to withdraw from the education standards that have been in place for years just to win a political argument while, at the same time, the standards seem to be working fine. If we were to make a flowchart of how Phil Bryant and the Republicans make education policy, it would probably look something like this:

  1. "We like skools."
  2. "Wait, we don't want skools doing that."
  3. Yell about it
  4. Shrug shoulders 
  5. Demand something
  6. Offer no solutions 
  7. Pass bills that hurt Mississippi's chances of being competitive in a global economy
  8. Demand something else when Phil Bryant has another bad idea
  9. Offer no solutions, again
  10. Tate Reeves blames Philip Gunn who blames Tate Reeves who blames Phil Bryant
  11. Teachers and students get caught in the political crossfire
  12. Somehow declare victory
What Phil Bryant and the Republicans are doing is confusing teachers by trying to change the rules and making Mississippi school children less competitive than their counterparts in states across the country. Phil Bryant and the Republicans do not care. As long as they can claim a political win, that is good enough for them. As we have noted previously, when it comes to public education in Mississippi, Phil Bryant and the Republicans just aren't into you.

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