Teachers Union Pushed "Full Funding"

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The state of Mississippi is about $188 million behind on funding education at $2 billion dollars, set by the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, or MAEP, formula.

Mississippi Association of Educators says now is the time for legislators to step up and fully fund education rather than phasing it in.

"It's been phased in under current law. Now it should be fully funded," said Beverly Brahan, president of MAE. "We believe lawmakers should keep their promise to children of Mississippi."

Secretary of State Eric Clark is a former teacher and parent of students in public schools. He says schools need to be held accountable and funded under the MAEP formula.

"I supported it when it was passed originally. I think we need it in Mississippi and it needs to be funded sooner rather than later," Clark said.

MAE pushes for more funding as Mississippi students show a major testing disparity. State tests rank them the best in the country, but federal tests show Mississippi students reading proficiency in dead last.

"We're near the bottom nationally, but we're near the top in improvement. We have a long way to go, but we're definitely making those trends," Brahan said.

"Schools need to do a better job of encouraging parents to be involved, but also it's up to the parents to be involved, keeping their kids doing homework, doing the discipline, too," said Clark.

The MAEP funding formula became state law in 1997. Education has only been fully funded to the MAEP formula one time in 2003.