C Spire launches political ad

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RIDGELAND, Miss. (WJTV)– C Spire launched a political ad this weekend in support of computer science in schools. The company wanted to send a message that ​Mississippi is losing high tech jobs to other states.

C Spire’s ad released saturday certainly gets its message across. The ad kicked off the company’s campaign “Mississippi’s future can’t wait.” You may have also caught the ad after the superbowl. ​
​​
“Thank you Mississippi for sending high paying tech jobs to Alabama.”​

The ad is filled with actors posing as officials from other states, but C Spire spokesman Dave Miller says this dramatization carries a powerful message. ​

“Basically what its saying is that while those states are taking a step forward and they’ve made a commitment either ​through funding or legislation to say computer science is important we’re gong to teach it to our children,” said Miller. “We’re going to teach it ​
to our K-12 schools.”​

According to code.org, the average salary for a computing job is $72,039 in Mississippi​,
and 1,000 jobs are available. C Spire has spent more than $3-million in computer education since 2015 and now they want to take another step and make computer science in k-12 a requirement. ​Less than half of Mississippi high schools teach computer science. ​

“What we’re going to pursue is legislation that would enact requirements to teach the foundational parts of computer science in K-12 ​and we have 463,000 students in Mississippi,” said Miller. “We have 877 elementary schools, middle schools and high schools in the state, and if we are successful and we intend to be successful, this would become the law in the state of Mississippi.”​

C Spire is asking people to contact their lawmakers through their campaign.

The company says Governor Tate Reeves is already committed to computer science education. ​​
We reached out to Renae Eze, his spokesperson. She released this statement:

“As Governor Reeves said in his State of the State Address, our first mission must be the continued improvement of our educational system. Thanks to the hard work of our teachers, parents, and—most importantly—our students, Mississippi is the number one state in the nation for educational gains, and we’re just getting started. Governor Reeves plans to continue building on that achievement by preparing our students for the jobs of the future. Through his $100 million workforce development plan, every Mississippi student will be exposed to computer science and coding courses before graduation. Governor Reeves is committed to working with our partners in both the public and private sectors to ensure our students have every opportunity to succeed.”

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