My Response to The Sun-Herald Editorial

The editorial board of the Biloxi-Gulfport, Mississippi Sun-Herald recently wrote a scathing, unfair critique of Mississippi’s public schools. The piece is repugnant in its simple damnation of our state’s public school students, teachers and parents.

Who has gotten to the S-H editorial board? Why is this group of newspaper professionals bent on convincing us that the sky is falling when it comes to public education?

Here is my response. I submitted it moments ago. We’ll see whether or not it gets published:

To the members of the Sun-Herald editorial board:

I am profoundly disappointed in your recent condemnation of Mississippi’s public schools in the August 26 column, titled “At least there’s method to the madness of public education in Mississippi.”

In it, you call for “legislative hammers” that “need to come down until something gets nailed”. You go on to ask “How much more embarrassing, disgraceful, and disastrous must education become in Mississippi before the situation in our public schools becomes tolerable?”

I feel sure that there are many Mississippians who, like me, disagree with this ignorant, overly exaggerated assessment of the public schools in which our children are educated. Yes — regardless of what the flavor-of-the-month is in accountability systems and no matter what our kids’ bubble sheets look like during one week in May and no matter what Jeb Bush or anyone else outside of our state says — a lot of us still believe in our local public school districts. And, yes, we get downright livid when people throw stupid, hurtful comments our way.

Indeed, your column was nothing more than a putrid string of insults and dense generalizations, the very opposite of the collaborative dialogue that is increasingly absent in today’s policy discussions, yet is required in order for our democracy to work. The editorial board of the American newspaper is supposed to be a body of high-minded thought and discussion, a catalyst of a forward discourse between all parties; one that encourages partnerships and enlightenment, progress and understanding.

On Sunday, August 26th, however, the Sun-Herald editorial board exhibited no such qualities. The embarrassment and disgrace are all yours.


Michael A. Van Veckhoven

Meridian, MS



About The Public School Warrior

I am a product of Mississippi's public schools.
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4 Responses to My Response to The Sun-Herald Editorial

  1. Becky Glover says:

    Perhaps the title of the Sun Herald editorial should’ve been “There’s madness in the method used by MDE to evaluate MS’s public schools” – because it’s actually pointing out a flaw in the instrument used to assess Mississippi’s public schools.

    • Yes, Becky. Or, perhaps, “Here is a really stupid editorial”, or “We don’t know what the hell we’re talking about, and we’re gonna prove it to you today” or “Everyone else is piling on public schools and we didn’t want to miss out on the fun, so, here goes nuthin’!!”

  2. Becky Glover says:

    Well, what I really meant was that even though the Sun Herald editorial does contain some criticism of Mississippi’s public schools, it mostly, AND accurately, points to a flaw in the formula used to evaluate our public schools.

    Personally, instead of the last question asked in the Sun Herald editorial, I think the following questions might be more effective in bringing about needed changes:
    1.) How much longer will all Mississippians (including, but definitely not limited to, our state legislature) ignore OUR part in, first, recognizing, then valuing, and finally prioritizing quality education in the state of Mississippi?
    2.) How will we work with and through MDE to correct the obvious flaw(s) in the way we evaluate our public schools?
    3.) How are we increasing and improving more people’s (including, but definitely not limited to, our legislators’) understanding of the challenges facing Mississippi’s public school system?
    4.) How will we effectively demand and fund quality, mandatory Pre-K in our state?
    5.) Why are more of us not holding our elected (state-level) representatives accountable every year they disobey the law that THEY created and passed in 1997 to fully fund our public school system?
    6.) How can we effectively demand that our state representatives at least do THEIR part in fulfilling that 1997 law which determines how THEY are to apply OUR hard-earned and faithfully entrusted tax money to ensure an adequate education for every Mississippi child – whether that child lives in a “wealthy” community or a “poor” one BEFORE taking any further steps toward creating an additional, UNDER-funded public school system in our state?

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