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Education matters most

Let’s put political differences aside.

Let’s think only about Mississippi: what Mississippi needs, what Mississippi can become.

Taking that approach, then education is the only solution to our problems, since education is the gateway to better health, better economic development and a more progressive society in general.

That’s why State Rep. Jay Hughes (District 12) of Oxford gets our well-deserved applause for a job well done in hosting the recent Summer Education Forum, which drew 1,500 teachers from Mississippi to discuss their challenges and opportunities.

It was a P.T. Barnum concept that Hughes used in developing the summit, a big idea that seemed bigger than reality. But before long, the reality became bigger than the idea and the Jackson Convention Center had a sold out crowd talking about how education in Mississippi can be better.

It can be, of course. Our political landscape that makes education something for conservatives and liberals to fight over has gone too far, though. It is getting in the way of our becoming a smarter state.

Mississippi can’t make life on the bottom of lists for per-capita income, obesity and education a habit.

We can do better, and it starts with education. Our teachers are worth listening to, and Rep. Hughes is commended for starting what we hope will be lasting dialogue in Mississippi.