We start our new format today with a deep dive into a couple of education topics — pre-K and school funding. Brad hosts and is joined by Daily Journal education reporter Emma Kent and Capitol Bureau chief Bobby Harrison, as well as Mississippi First Executive Director Rachel Canter.
Mississippi First, a non-partisan education advocacy organization, recently released a report on the state of pre-K in Mississippi. It said about 44 percent of Mississippi children have access to pre-K and that quality varies greatly.
We talk about the report (3:44), efforts to raise the quality of public and private centers and the outlook for expanding the state’s Early Learning Collaborative program.
Meanwhile, we discuss the latest proposal by New Jersey-based EdBuild (17:18) to change the formula the state follows to fund its public schools. We discuss aspects of the new formula and how this process compares to the creation of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program in 1997.
We also discuss Gov. Phil Bryant’s State of the State speech (31:23) and the debate over whether Mississippi should make kindergarten attendance mandatory (34:19).
Following our education discussion, Daily Journal business editor Dennis Seid (44:45) joins us to talk about the new Furniture Academy. The furniture industry has been adding jobs, but needs more employees with the skills to fill those positions. As a result, several Northeast Mississippi manufacturers, colleges and economic development groups have created a Furniture Academy to help prepare more employees for furniture industry jobs.