Ana Maria Rosato Fights                for Public Education 

Ana Maria Fights for Public Education Funding

In 2015, a bi-partisan citizen led effort of public education champions did the enormously hard work that put on the November ballot an amendment to Mississippi’s state constitution to require the legislature to fully fund public education.  This was known as Initiative 42.


To muddy the waters, the anti-public education Republican-controlled legislature placed a counter measure on the ballot. To do so, they only needed a simple majority vote in the state House of Representatives and State Senate. They named it Initiative 42A. 

anti-public education Republicans complicated the matter further.  The  Republican-controlled state legislature deprived voters of a simple yes or no vote on whether to fully fund public education.   

On behalf of the Mississippi Association of Educators (MAE), the state affiliate of the National Educators Association (NEA), Ana Maria Rosato travelled throughout the state to train public school educators on this unnecessarily complicated ballot. In turn, MAE members spoke at various local events — churches, community organizations, and more — to help their communities vote to fully fund public education in Mississippi.


The anti-public education Republicans feared properly funding public education so they implemented these measures to defeat the strong movement to properly fund our children’s public education.


As a result of all of the enormous work of citizens throughout the state and MAE members, the public education funding amendment to the state constitution almost passed. The final vote was 51%-49%.


Imagine if it had been a straight up or down vote! The children would have won.


Btw, those same anti-public education Republican forces also defeated three long-time, conservative yet staunchly pro-public education funding Republicans. 

Ana Maria Propelled Victory of a Public Education Champion,
Defeating a Private  Corporate School Candidate

In 2015, an open state house seat in the Mississippi Delta drew two young Black men into the Democratic Primary. The Delta is overwhelmingly Democratic which meant that whoever won the primary election would become the state representative


Ana Maria’s client, Orlando Paden, is a lifelong resident of the county with a proven track record of community service and work at the local community college. 


His opponent was a lobbyist dedicated to transferring public tax dollars away from public eduction and into private, corporate schools. 


Ana Maria advised her client to refer to it as PRIVATE charter schools. She also created two videos to drive the point home.


The videos went viral in the community, and Ana Maria’s client won his election.


Sanford Johnson: Mr. Private Charter School

Mr. Private Charter School, Part 2 — Resegregation

Ana Maria Supports Public Education

public school bus

Ana Maria is adamantly opposed to public tax dollars funding private corporate schools as well as opposed to vouchers to attend private or parochial schools. Private charter schools are private businesses that use tax money to make a profit at the expense of our children’s education.


This is morally outrageous and just plain wrong.

When it comes to public education, Ana Maria Rosato holds strong core beliefs.


  • Our democracy thrives in direct proportion to how well every child has easy, equitable, and free access to the three A’s of world-class public education: Academics, Athletics, and Arts.

  • Public educators — rather than corporate executives in board rooms — must be in control of our kids’ classrooms, paid competitively with the private sector, and provided all of the resources needed to ensure that their students have the world class education experience inside their classrooms that each student deserves. 

  • Public tax dollars be funneled solely into universal public pre-K including Head Start and public school K-12. 


Ana Maria’s position is rooted in her own Catholic education (K-12) and her mother’s pioneering work that brought Head Start to their hometown, a bedroom community an hour east of New Orleans. 

Gloria C. Rosato: A Head Start Pioneer

Gloria C. Rosato, Ana Maria Rosato's mother

Gloria Cantone Rosato, Ana Maria Rosato’s mother.

In the very early 1960s, Gloria C. Rosato — Ana Maria’s mother — along with six Black women worked like the dickens to bring Head Start to the Bay-Waveland area. This New Orleans bedroom community is about an hour east of Bourbon Street yet sits on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.


Together these Head Start pioneer leaders brought this critically important educational resource to children. Head Start helps children of families experiencing hard financial times by preparing the kids to become ready for a lifetime of learning. 

Decades after her mother’s Head Start days ended, Ana Maria was told that on three different occasions crosses were burned in the front yard in an attempt to stop her mother’s very early work. Ana Maria was a toddler at the time.


“Apparently, they didn’t get the memo. Trying to tell my mother to stop pursuing justice only made her more determined which, of course, fueled her success,” Ana Maria Rosato says fondly of her mother.


When it comes to the debate over tax money being spent on parochial or private schools, Gloria Rosato was adamant that public tax dollars should always go to fund public education only.


Ana Maria explains, “Mom always said that it was HER decision to send all five of us kids to Catholic Schools. She never wanted and, quite candidly, she staunchly opposed providing public tax dollars to fund private education.”


“Mom said, ‘If others want their kids to go to private or parochial schools, that’s their prerogative. But spend my tax dollars for their kids’ private education? No. I don’t even want my tax dollars to fund our decision to send you to Catholic school. Those parents can make sacrifices for their decision just like your father and I did.'”

The values imparted and lessons learned at her mother’s knee continue to guide Ana Maria’s work to create social justice on the planet.