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Gov. Harley Barbour again has let his partisanship as head of the National Republican Governors Conference get in the way of the needs of Mississippians.
This time Barbour and some other state Republican politicians are complaining about a bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama that has the potential of providing as much as $250 million to Mississippi schools, including $180 million for kindergarten through 12th-grade schools.
There are two provisions in the federal law: one reduces the amount of money the state must put up to get federal Medicaid funds, freeing up money for education, and the other provides money directly to the states to help save teacher jobs.
Barbour has honed in on the second provision because it might require the state to provide some state money to get the $98 million for teaching jobs in Mississippi.
“This is Congress far exceeding the authority of the federal government by forcing states to change already-adopted budgets to meet the desires of the far left,” the governor said in a statement.
Since when does spending money to improve the state’s woeful funding level for public education constitute meeting “the desires of the far left.” Somehow, we never thought supporting adequate funding for our New Albany and Union County schools was a “far left” view.
Fortunately, our representative in Congress, Travis Childers of Booneville, had the good sense and political fortitude to support the legislation.
But it is unfortunate that Barbour and other high-ranking Republicans in Mississippi are making demagogic, anti-education comments in a state that ranks near the bottom of most any educational measurement in the country.