In solidarity with #OurJPS | IDEA

In solidarity with #OurJPS

Posted by Albert Sykes on Oct 18, 2017 - 07:25 AM

Zion Blount, a Murrah High School senior, spoke out against the impending state takeover of JPS. Photo courtesy
Stephen Wilson and Jackson Free Press.

Dear Friends,

On behalf of IDEA we want to draw your attention to Jackson Public School District in Mississippi and it's impending takeover by the state. This will devastate the local school district even further and comes on the heels of yet another year of severe underfunding. Community voice and local control will be stripped, the school board dissolved and the district turned over to a single conservator. 

We absolutely believe this situation arises from politics and intentions centered around the furthering of attempts to destroy, discredit and dismantle public education. IDEA was founded to protect and preserve education as a public good and this is one of many situations where we are directly supporting communities who must fight these hard fights. It's one of the reasons we are on the ground in Jackson being proactive about working with families and communities to understand what consequences and difficulties we face and to strategize about ways to keep pushing for the best education our kids can be provided.

The most promising aspect of local pushback has been the beauty of watching young people, the most directly affected people in this horrible situation, lead efforts themselves to talk about the greatness of the district and their vision for it. Jackson youth organized and facilitated a press conference to share their inputs on what a takeover would mean for them.

We are committed to ensuring that the decision(s) made about the Jackson Public School District be solely based on whether or not the district is making progress in meeting or exceeding goals laid out in its state approved corrective action plan upon which it was simultaneously audited while implementing. As the Mississippi Department of Education illegally revealed during the takeover hearings, Jackson's district will receive an F in a soon-to-be-released new ranking and rating system based on LAST YEAR'S test scores. This couldn't by law be considered during those hearings and it shouldn't be allowed to be a factor in the final decision making process. On top of this, the new ranking system is a built on a curve that actually requires 14% of Mississippi districts to get an F no matter what their scores are. 

Jackson finally found in its interim Superintendent and the board in its current makeup a group of education leaders who were and are daily committed to providing every available avenue to a high quality education for all the young people it serves. JPS is vital to Jackson's future and it has proven decade after decade that it can produce the minds and hands that not only improve our great state but that also branch out and change the world. 

All eyes are on JPS and all hands have to be on deck to support this district moving forward. You can show your support by signing this petition put together by #OurJPS, a coalition of youth, parents, and community members in Jackson.