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July 29, 2010     Stone County Enterprise
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I OPINION I 4 STONE COUNTY ENTERPRISE www.stonecountyenterprise.com July 28, 2010. US PRESIDENT MISSISSIPPI SENATE Barack Obama Ezell Lee (District 47) The White House 407 Country Club Drive 16oo Pennsylvania Ave Picayune, MS 39466 NW 6Ol.798.6961 Washington, D.C. 20500 4oo High Street 2o2.456.1414 phone Jackson, MS 39215-1o18 2o2.456.2461 fax 6Ol.359.317o comments@whitetmuse.gov elee@mail.senate.state.ms.us US VICE PRESIDENT Joe Biden qqle %qfite [louse 16oo Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, D.C. 2o5oo 202.456.1414 phone 2o2.456.2461 fax vice_ president@whitehouse.gov US SENATE Roger Wicker U.S. Senate 487 Russell Building Washington, D.C. 20510 202.224.6253 phone 202.224.2262 fax Thad Cochran U.S. Senate 326 Russell Building Washington, D.C. 20510 202.224.5o54 phone 2o2.224.945o fax US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Gene Taylor House of Representatives 2311 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 2o2.225.5772 phone 202.225.7074 fax James "Shannon" Walley 400 High Street Jackson, MS 39215-1o18 6Ol.359.3226 swalley @ mail .senate. ms. us MISSISSIPPI HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Deryk Parker (Dist. lo7) 168 Easterling Rd. Lucedale, MS 39452 400 High Street Jackson, MS 39215-1o18 6Ol.359.9465 dparker@mail.house.state.m S.US Dirk Dedeaux (Dist. 93) 2157 Hwy 53 Perkinston, MS 39573 228.255.6171 400 High Street Jackson, MS 39215-1o18 6Ol.359.2428 STONE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS Clark Byrd (Dist. 1) Daniel Harris (Dist. 9) Lance Pearson (Dist. 3) Wendell Patton (Dist. 4) Dale Bond (Dist. 5) MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR P.O. Drawer 7 Haley Barbour Wiggins, MS 39577 PO Box 139 6Ol.928.5266 Jackson, MS 392o5 6Ol.359.315o CITY OF WIGGINS Jerry Alexander (Mayor) MISSISSIPPI Darrell Berry (Ward a) LIEUTENANT Gene Alexander (Ward 2) GOVERNOR Derrick Gates (Ward 3) Phil Bryant Tommy Hall (Ward 4) PO Box lo18 Joel Miles (At-Large) Jackson, MS 39215 117 S. First Street 6Ol.359.32oo Wiggins, MS 39577 601.928.7221 The Stone Coun Enterprise encourages its readers to submit letters to the editor about issues discussed in the newspaper or that are relevant to the community. Letters may be sent by mail to PO Box 157, Wiggins, MS 39577, or dropped off at tlae newspaper offices: 143 S. First St., Wiggins, or sent by email: editor@stoneeountyenter- prise.corn All letters sent my mail, email or dropped off at the office must be signed and contain a telephone number and address for verification purposes. No unsigned or anonymously-written letter to the editor will be pub- lished. The Stone County Enterprise reserves the right to proofread or edit letters to the editor. "111e Enterprise also reserves the right to refuse to publish any letter. The views expressed in letters to the editor are those of the Titers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Stone County Enterprise or its staff. Our nation's spending is on an unsustainable path. Many Americans realize this and are asking when Congress will judge the price tag on new programs to be too high. When is the hole we are digging too deep for our children to climb out? "lqae sl ending binge will not stolb if Congress con- tinues to pass costly poli- cies like the health care package, TARP bailout, and stimulus bill. The federal government should practice the same fiscal restraint that American families, business owners, teachers, farmers, and shrimpers, among others, practice daily. The President's Excessive Spending Our nation is burdened with an overwhelming $13 trillion debt. Budget experts estimate that the 2010 deficit will reach $1.5 trillion, piling more money onto the nation's credit card. President Obama's spending proposals, and the legislation pushed by the Denaocrats in Congress, only worsen the country's fiscal crisis. 'I]ae President's spending plan would double the national debt in five years and triple it in 10 years. By 2020, the national debt would consume 90 percent/ of our economic output, which would be the highest level since 195o. Instead of scaling back and pa)4ng do aa the debt, the administration is tip- The purpose of education is to help children reach their full potential and give them the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to suc- ceed as adults. Ultimately, we measure success at the K-12 level by the number of students that successful- ly complete high school. However, there is more than one way to calculate graduation and dropout rates. Cohort graduation and dropout rates are determined by tracking students from ninth grade year through the next four years. At the end of those four years, a snapshot is taken to determine whether students have graduated, have completed with either a Certificate of Attendance or Occupation- al Diploma, will be return- ing the next year to contin- ue school, or have dropped out of school. ]]ae Class of 2oo9's cohort of 33,645 students is slightly larger than the Class of2oo8. The dropout rate for the Class ping the scales with more spending at current levels. 10 years. Additionally, the spending. Since the Democratic committee President's health care bill President took office in members unanimously creates another expensive January 2oo9, non- voted against this proposal entitlenlent program, fur- defense discretionary even though some of them ther intensifying this fiscal spending - the money previously had supported a burden. used to fund things like similar plan. We can protect these pro- transportation, we cannot grams and reduce the education, law allow spending deficit by focusing on ways enforcement, and to go uncheckedto slow the growth rate. If the $1 trillion any longer, we are serious about pre- stimulus package- Congress shouldventing a fiscal collapse, has increased 84 adopt a budget Congress should repeal the percent. This is that will put us government health care far from the fiscal back on the path takeover and reform enti- responsibility to fiscal reeov- tlement programs. needed to get our cry. The TARP Protecting our country back on bailout program Children's Futures track, should be termi- "Iqae current administra- Democrats will nated, and all tion's spend-tax-and-bor- not Offer a Budget U.S.Senator repaid funds row plan will not dean up Most of us who Roger Wicker should go our financial mess. When run a business or a toward paying the President took office, home in down the debt. the federal debt averaged Mississippi know how Non-defense diseretiona $84,7oo per U.S. child. essential it is to develop a spending should be Under the President's leg- budget to match spending trimmed to leaner levels, islative proposals, the fed- with income, and any new spending eral debt per child will Unfortunately, Democratic should be offset with cuts reach nearly $250,00o by leaders have denied to other programs. These2020. If the reckless Congress the opportunity steps may be painful, but spending continues, the to debate a federal budget, the), make common sense national debt will threaten leaving our government and can be done now. the long-term stability of without a blueprint for The greatest threat to our America. Interest rates Spending and saving this economic stability is the will skyrocket, and year. At a tinle when we spending on entitlement investors will lose confi- have record deficits, a bal- programs, dence in our government's looning debt, and an Our nation faces $77 tril- ability to pay its loans. administration unable to lion in unfunded entitle- We can no longer afford exercise any spending nlent obligations over 75 to pass along tlae economic restraint, it is irresponsible years, and these important problems of today for for Congress not to set a programs - Social future generations to fix. federal budget. Security, Medicare, and Rather than burden our Recognizing this grave Medicaid - are running up children with overwhelm- situation, Senate debts at an alarming rate. ing debt, we need to pro- Republicans at an Despite the already rapid tect them and give them Appropriations Committee growth, the President's the best opportunity for meeting last week called on budget would increase success. It starts by reining Democrats to join them in mandatory spending even in the spending. freezing non-defense more by $1.9 trillion over of 2009 is slightly up from the Class of 2008 at 16.8 percent and the graduation rate is slightly down at 71.6 percent. For the Class of 2008, the dropout rate was 16 percent and the gradua- tion rate was 72 percent. Mississippi has been calculating graduation and dropout rates since 2005 using the guidelines established by the National Governors Association (NGA) Task Force on High School Graduate Rate Data. From2oo5 to 2008, Mississippi saw incremen- tal improvement in both the graduation and dropout rates while using the NGA guidelines. In 2008, the United States Department of Education (USDE) issued guidance- Dr. Tom Burnham rates. The USDE guidance for calculating graduation and dropout rates was sim- ilar, but not identical, to the NGA guidance. Two details were significant to Mississippi. First, the NGA rate allowed self-con- tained special education stu- dents more time to graduate than their non-special education peers. The USDE method does not. Second, the NGA did not count a student as a dropout if they earned a GED outside of the school district they attend- ed. The USDE requires that students who transfer to an educational program that does not culminate in a high school diploma are considered a dropout. These factors contributed to Mississippi being bumped slightly off track on its goal of reducing the dropout rate to 13 percent by" 2013. However, that goal is still attainable. There has been a tremendous anmunt of effort to help students con- tinue on a path to gradua- tion. The On the Bus ad campaign has provided great awareness and momentum for strong community and business involvement in schools. We nmst keep the momen- tum going and find new ways to inspire and empower students to stay in school. outlining its own method- ology for calculating both graduation and dropout Many of our dropout pre- vention efforts wdll have long-term benefits rather than produce short-term results. Our focus on early literacy today will be evi- dent when the Class of 2022 graduates. We are also working hard to help students transition into and out off middle school witla the skills needed to succeed in high school. We will see the results of these efforts in the Class of 2o16. This year, the Mississippi Legislature passed SB 2389, which will allow school districts to expand their career pathway pro- grams. Students that take advantage of this program will be able to obtain the knowledge and skills need- ed for a career, so that they are ready to enter the workforce when they grad- uate in 2014. There are no quick fixes to dropout prevention. By increasing the rigor or our curriculum and assessment system, we are preparing our students to succeed in the classroom and beyond. Finally, dropout preven- tion is not the sole respon- sibility of teachers and principals. All adults must be engaged in the educa- tion of children. Setting high educational expecta- tions and keeping children focused on learning will help more students gradu- ate. This will help each student have a better life and the state grow a more robust economy. Stone Countl, ( nterpri e SERVING STONE COUNTY SINCE 1916 Published each Wednesday at 143 First Street, Wiggins, MS 39577 (601) 928-4802 fax (601) 928-2191 E-mail: editor@stonecountyenterprise.com USPS 522-300 Periodical postage paid at Wiggins, Mississippi 39577, Single copy price 75 cents. Subscription rate inside Stone County is Heather Freret Jody O'Hara Publisher/Editor Rose Martin Staff Writer Classified / Legal Clerk Charlotte Wippler Chelle Grantham Advertising Sales Adveltising Sales $25.00 per year; in-state $37.00 per year; outside-of-state $42.00 per year. Service members Member Mississippi Press Association are $25.00 per year. Entered weekly as a second class mail matter July 3, 1906, at the Post Office in Wiggins, Mississippi, under the Act of Congress March POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Stone County Enterprise, P.O. Box 157, Wiggins, MS 39577. subscriptions 13, 1879. i Li] j