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Summary of recent Mississippi newspaper editorials


Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:

April 14

Greenwood (Mississippi) Commonwealth on sports hero:

Jordan Spieth, the 21-year-old golfing phenomenon from Dallas, has a lot more fans today than he did this time last week when he tied for second in a three-man playoff in the Houston Open.

Because of the beauty of the Augusta National Golf Course, the tradition and quality of golf played there every April, the Masters golf tournament draws a huge television audience, as well as those lucky enough to get a pass to be there in person.

Those who love to play golf, watch the professionals play or both can all appreciate the talent and steely nerves displayed by Spieth, who led the field from start to finish this past weekend at Augusta.

Although his name hasn't been a household word until now, Spieth isn't a flash in the pan. He came in second at the Masters last year and is now ranked as the second best player in the world, just behind Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland.

America now has another weapon in its friendly competition with golfers from the rest of the world.

Had Spieth won the Masters last year, he would have been the youngest player ever to win the tournament. As it is he is the second youngest. Tiger Woods was several months younger when he won at 21 in 1997. Both Woods (in 1997) and Spieth shot 18-under for the 72-hole tournament and are tied for the lowest score. Spieth was 19-under (a record) going into the last hole, which he bogeyed.

What's so impressive about Spieth, aside from his golfing skills, is his character. Unlike Woods, he doesn't curse into open microphones when he makes an occasionally errant shot. He still dates his high school sweetheart and is a loving brother to a younger sister with neurological difficulties that place her on the autism spectrum.

As he walked from the 18th green Sunday, you could tell by the hugs he received from his parents and grandfather, as well as numerous friends, some of them high school buddies, that Spieth is loved in Dallas.

His sister, who is seven years younger, doesn't come to many tournaments. Ellie Spieth likes to yell her brother's name and cheer at what should be quiet times, but she was undoubtedly watching on television.

"I don't know what could make you more proud," his father, Shawn, said. "But God-given gift to be able to play the game like that, we're just probably more proud of him for the kind of person he is and the way he handles himself and treats everybody. . He makes us really, really proud."

In an era when too many sports heroes turn out to have character flaws that are spread across the media, let's hope Jordan Spieth continues to be the good guy he appears to be now


April 14

Sun Herald, Biloxi, Mississippi, on Singing River Health System retirees:

So the Jackson County supervisors are tired of hearing from their constituents.

Come to us privately with questions, they say. Write them down, they say. But don't ask us in public.

The public should be even more tired of the supervisors.

We all are frustrated by the lack of transparency in both the Board of Supervisors and the boards of the Singing River Health System and its retirement plan.

The boards begrudgingly release the tiniest bits of information.

They sign agreements designed to keep the public in the dark.

And so the frustration builds in this high stakes game.

Employees and retirees are rightly worried that their retirement plan is evaporating right before their eyes.

Instead of relaxing in retirement, they worry about how they'll pay their bills.

Supervisors, rather than answer their questions, simply say they are doing everything they can to save the hospital and the retirement plan. It is past time for them to show concrete evidence that any of that is true.

Supervisors, if they are as sympathetic to the retirees' plight as they claim they are, should allow the retirees and others to openly ask questions, and give complete and honest answers. To do otherwise is disrespectful.

Time after time supervisors claim to be on the retirees' side.

But their actions, once again, say otherwise.

Of course, as the supervisors say, talking to the people isn't required by law.

But that leaves retirees and employees no other option than to speak loudly later this year at the ballot box. No answer from the supervisors would be required there either


April 14

Northeast Mississippi Journal, Tupelo, Mississippi, on standards commission duplicative:

The bill that would create an 11-member commission to propose new state academic standards for Mississippi's K-12 schools sits on the desk of Gov. Phil Bryant, who hasn't indicated whether he'll sign it.

A veto wouldn't be a bad idea, but not for the reasons that most people who want one would cite.

Tea Party-oriented conservative groups want the governor to veto the bill because they want a law that would eliminate Common Core, or as it is now called in Mississippi, the College and Career Readiness Standards. They had hoped this legislation would be the vehicle for that elimination, but it was watered down in the legislative process and has no teeth.

In our view, that's a good thing.

Mississippi has spent five years, millions of dollars and untold training hours implementing Common Core, which has been widely misrepresented by its critics as taking away from state and local school districts the authority to establish curriculum and make instructional decisions. It does no such thing.

Common Core was developed by the states to provide a more rigorous standard of measurement for students to not only accumulate knowledge but apply what they have learned. The standards are for language arts and mathematics, and they demand more of students and teachers. This school year was the first one in which they have been fully implemented in the state's schools, and this spring's tests will measure the results.

The legislation awaiting the governor's decision began as a purely political knee-jerk response to the clamor of the opponents of Common Core, which had been non-controversial until its endorsement by the Obama administration, which had nothing to do with its creation. The commission created would have usurped the constitutional authority of the Mississippi Board of Education to set educational standards for the state's schools by requiring the board to accept the bulk of its recommendations. But sensible heads prevailed and that mandate was eliminated.

So now the commission has only the power to recommend, and Common Core opponents are mad about that. They want a "real" anti-Common Core bill, thus they're pushing for a Bryant veto.

If the governor does veto the bill, the matter should end there. This commission is duplicative and unnecessary; its members would be appointed by the same people - the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House - who appoint the state Board of Education.

Let that board do its job and forget about a wasteful new commission.


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