Photo: Jay Sartain, speaking at a Raise Mississippi event in Horn Lake on Oct. 12 (Courtesy photo)
By Jay Sartain
If you’re a business owner like me, or know one, or are even kin to one, you likely know that riding this roller coaster economy right now keeps us up at night. Since I opened S & H Small Business Repair in Horn Lake in 2004, not a day goes by that I haven’t poured my energy, hopes, and dreams into it. And, it has become increasingly clear that if business folks like me are going to succeed into the future, we must have a strong bench of trained, capable educated employees ready to help.
Now, I know that “workforce training” is the buzz word right now, and I am glad of it. We would be silly not to recognize the importance of new technologies and skills that are now and will continue to be necessary for someone’s success in the working world.
I also know that it isn’t the only kind of education our kids need to succeed as working adults. They also need to learn how to read and write well, add and subtract, communicate, act right and, importantly, think. Those things are taught in every public school in Mississippi. However, there are public schools in this state who are struggling because of lack of funding, failing buildings, teacher shortages and other issues.
There has been a measurable lack of urgency on the issue of full funding of our public schools at the State Capitol. That’s got to change, and that’s why I support Raise Mississippi, a statewide initiative to improve public schools across the state, and by extension, improve the economy and quality of life for every Mississippian for generations to come.
Those of us who are parents of growing or grown children want the next generation to be able to stay in Mississippi and feel like they can achieve their dreams. We want to see our grandkids right around the corner or only an hour away. Supporting our public schools will help make those dreams a reality.
I was honored to be invited to a Raise Mississippi meeting on October 12 in Horn Lake, sponsored by the Mississippi Association of Educators. It was good to hear other people with different roles in the community offer their perspectives on the urgency of our public school needs. I believe we are building momentum to get things done, and it can’t happen too soon!
The partners behind the growing Raise Mississippi coalition understand the direct connection between investments in our public schools and job creation and economic growth. They have a vision for Mississippi where we are leaders in innovation. Where we will attract new businesses to our state all the while keeping our kids here because we’ve got the jobs that will yield the quality of life they deserve. They understand that investing in the places where our future CEOs, innovators, and workforce are learning today – our public schools – will not only benefit students, but all of us for years to come.
With 90 percent of Mississippi students attending our public schools, it doesn’t take advanced math skills to understand that our future prosperity rests on decisions we make now about how to support our public schools and students.
Please join me and get involved with the Raise Mississippi initiative. You can access more information at www.raisemississippi.org.
Working together, we can do this. I don’t mind hard work. Do you?
This op-ed article was written by Horn Lake businessman Jay Sartain in support of Raise Mississippi.