[Kamikaze] Jackson Schools in Crisis

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Brad Franklin

I am a proud product of Jackson Public Schools. I spent nine years in that system. My mother was a long-time educator in JPS. My brother currently teaches in JPS. And I count several friends, classmates and colleagues who are either in the classroom or in administrative roles in Jackson Public Schools.

There was a time I believed in it unconditionally: so much so that I trusted JPS to educate my children, my nieces, my nephews. And I still do, stubbornly, to a degree. But is it to their detriment?

One thing most Jacksonians can agree on is that the district is in peril. And our children, its most precious commodity, are in grave danger. Even the most staunch apologist is going to have a problem these days justifying JPS' current state. It simply isn't producing a prepared product to the world.

No need to take my word for it. Just look at the numbers. Only one area high school, Callaway, met its targets last year in the core areas of math, language arts and graduation rates. Look closer, and you'll find that 33 of the district's 59 schools were "at risk."

JPS, are you paying attention? How about the parents who I meet around town every day, my age and younger, who say they, too, are fed up? Like the mother I talked to who says she gets up at 5:30 a.m. every day to drive her daughter to Flowood because she refuses to enroll her in a JPS school. Or the mother who commented on my Facebook page that as soon as she is financially able, she will be sending her kids to private school? The gentleman with the education degree who said he will never teach in JPS because he refuses to let children disrespect him with no consequences? These are all African American parents and educators who are adamant about their disappointment in the largest school district in the state.

Let's be honest. Most white Jacksonians have stopped sending their kids to JPS schools. The district is now 98 percent African American. But now black folks are making beelines for Clinton, or Madison and Rankin County schools. Not because they "want" to but because they feel they "have" to. Can administrators tell me why?

Why do I walk through the halls of my son's school and see kids disrespecting adults (he's been guilty, too) with little to no consequences. Why are we losing our best and brightest young teachers? Why are some JPS employees and teachers clearly there just to draw a check? What are our tax dollars being spent on? Where is the money going?

Superintendent Lonnie Edwards' contract won't be renewed. After June 30, JPS will be looking for a leader. Edwards is an educated gentleman, a nice guy. He would serve as a great ambassador and motivator. Is he the best to lead the district right now? Probably not. Granted, the problems in JPS weren't created in just two years, so Edwards (or anyone, for that matter) shouldn't be expected to fix them in two years. However, considering that we are at Defcon 4, the next superintendent is going to need to be overqualified to stop the bleeding. Here are a few suggestions:

• Stop the emphasis on standardized testing. It's promoting memorization over retention.

• Reinstate corporal punishment now! The kids run the schools, not the adults.

• Evaluate teachers and principals more stringently. Are they there for the kids or a check? I know plenty of principals and teachers that don't need to be at JPS. Simple as that.

But who am I? I'm just a parent. One who gets laughed at when I tell folks that I'm going to keep my son in JPS, even though I could send him to private school tomorrow. I'm just hardheaded like that.

And that's the truth ... sho-nuff.

Previous Comments

ID
161904
Comment

Seems to me that if parents who are fed up applied as much anger towards demanding correction and improvement in JPS as they do in figuring out how to get them in another school district, we'd at least be in a position to MAKE the school district stand up and take notice of our frustrations. If everyone runs away from JPS, we can count our educational system off. If all that will be left are kids whose parents have no other alternative but to leave their kids in JPS, we are destined to fail our children. Black people in Jackson, MS need to stop running and chasing education, better neighborhoods, etc... We need to start showing some ownership of our own city, our own stores, our own streets, and our own schools. We do a lot of complaining and screaming, but we do very little protesting, marching, demanding. This school district is OURS. If we don't fight for it, who the hell will? If we leave it while it's heading swiftly downward, who will lift it up? Who will come into our 98% black school district and improve it. I hate to tell you this, but as soon as we turn the Flowood, Rankin, Madison Co. districts over 50% black, they will STOP taking your children or they will leave and go some place else. Then, what's happening in JPS will happen there. It will peril. When that happens, they'll probably come BACK to JPS and then what....here you come running back with your grandchilden. We can't run from this and we shouldn't. Also, moving your children is not fixing the problem. It's passing the problem on to another person/parent. Why are we of that mindset? Why do we selfishly deem this problem as someone else's? ALL our children need and deserve eduation and preparation for their adult lives...not just your children. If we continue to think like that, we are going to be surprised to find one day that the world as we know it will be different, and not for the good of our race. Our children deserve the best of everything, just like those in other counties. Why are their children any different from ours? SN: Frustration is understandable. No one can blame a parent who wants what's best for their child. No one can argue that you have to do what is right for your child. However, once you determine that leaving JPS for everyone else to fix, you have demonstrated at lack luster attitude towards this city and it's school district. That is not a good look for any of us.

Author
Queen601
Date
2011-02-03T09:02:38-06:00
ID
161906
Comment

I agree with both Queen and Brad on most parts of this issue. I really want to see changes at JPS, and I'm even willing to help make those changes happen. The thing that I'm not willing to do is dog out parents who wish not to sacrifice the future of their children for a cause. I don't have any school-age children, but I hope to some day. I am a pro-Jack who shops local and encourages others to live, work, and play in the city, but I am really concerned about the public education system in Jackson. I wouldn't run to the neighboring counties for public education, but I can't say with 100% confidence that I wouldn't send my kids to private school. I just want to make sure that my decisions and priorities don't have a negative impact on my children's future.

Author
News Junkie
Date
2011-02-03T11:22:30-06:00
ID
161907
Comment

I hate to tell you this, but as soon as we turn the Flowood, Rankin, Madison Co. districts over 50% black, they will STOP taking your children or they will leave and go some place else. This is already happening in Clinton and Terry. Two districts with a large uptick in African American students within the past five years that are becoming increasinly tough on new enrollments and proving residency. I get your point, Kaze, but the standardized testing is a part of NCLB and is something the districts are FORCED to attend to because if they want to lose their "at risk" status they must perform better on the tests. It's a vicious cycle. They teach the kids to memorize the test so they can test better so they can get a better "grade" and, as such, improved funding. The schools MUST obey this mandate or be consolidated, taken over by the feds, or parents can choose to opt out of a low performing school and change their child to another district with a voucher (a higher performing school). The five main issues I see with public education right now are: 1) Parent involvement is very low 2) No Child Left Behind cripples teachers attempting to actually teach critical thinking skills and something other than rote memorization 3) a legislature who still believes that "more funding" does not necessarily mean "improved schooling" 4) a legislature that is not invested in the public school system at all because educating an generation of African American children successfully and comprehensively will lead to more African Americans being adequately educated (GASP!) and, therefore, OBVIOUSLY leading to all of them taking the white people's jobs 5) Teachers are frustrated because they are not allowed to teach. They don't teach "reading" anymore, they teach "textbook comprehension". So the children aren't reading classics, they are reading things that are supposed to improve their ability to understand a textbook. 6) Kids with behavior problems are not given consequences because the school does not want a high number of disciplinary measures on their "record". So, they don't record them nor do they redirect the students leading the students to correctly believe that their innappropriate behavior will not result in consequences. I agree with Queen. Its the entire community of Jackson that must get together and DEMAND more from their school districts and their legislature.

Author
Lori G
Date
2011-02-03T12:13:02-06:00
ID
161908
Comment

I even got information from a teacher in JPS that said they are told to NOT use textbooks to teach from. She told me what method is preferred but it has slipped my mind. Basically they want the students to sit around in a circle and teachers teach that way instead of using text books. This problem is all over and it's not just schools. It's hard for smart, capable, willing professionals to stay in Jackson no matter how hard we try. It's a catch 22. Stay to help! Or leave if we want a better life for ourselves. Well, I have chosen to take myself out of the equation and work for my daughter. So that by the time she is able to make her mind up about leaving or staying, it won't be because she had no other choice but to leave. But hey....that's just how the Franklin's roll.

Author
Queen601
Date
2011-02-03T13:20:51-06:00
ID
161909
Comment

News Junkie, I appreciate your comments. If it comes across like i'm "dogging" out parents who leave the district, please understand that this is NOT personal. But we don't do enough for each other. Black people DO NOT come from people who quit on each other and leave problems to the next man to fix. If we did, Harriet Tubman wouldn't have gone back (over and over again) to free others. She could have stayed north the first time she got there. We have developed the mindset over years and years of struggling that we must look out for ourselves. That attitude is KILLING US. From ensuring education of our children, to robbing and killing each other. If we continue to ignore the needs of our community, we will simply die off or kill each other off. Do you not think that's what is expected of us? We are expected to run away. We are expected to let JPS district fall apart. How long do we do what is expected? How long do we allow ourselves to be tokens of failure? Unity. Togetherness. That is the ONLY way we will ever win the battles that cripple our communities and our schools. It's really just that simple. If one parent leaves, then another leaves, then another leaves. Then no one cares. The we get teachers who don't care to educate our students. Then we get parents who have to work two and three jobs and can't go to PTA meetings. Instead of the parents who are able to go and care enough to take care of the needs of their kids and those whose parents can't be there. All I'm saying is, this is OUR battle. If WE don't fight it, no one else will. Bottom line. Muhammad Ali once said, "I know I have it made while the masses of black people catchin' hell, but as long as they ain't free, I ain't free!" This is ALL our problem. WE ALL MUST FIX IT -- together.

Author
Queen601
Date
2011-02-03T13:47:08-06:00
ID
161910
Comment

I don't take it personal at all. Hopefully by the time I have school-age children, we will have fixed all the issues at JPS. I just understand those parents who send their kids to private schools. Please remember that many people in Jackson send their kids to New Hope and Adhiambo which are also black schools. I know that leads to a class discussion, and I'm not encouraging greater separation of the haves and have nots. I just wanted to point out that it's not just about race or suburban schools. I agree that we (the community) need to save the schools. I just understand those parents who want to help and want to make it better for ALL children, but refuse to sacrifice their own child's education. I would not want my children to feel like they had no other choice but to leave, but I wouldn't want them to feel like they had no choice but to STAY either. The future is definitely more global than the past and present. I think that most parents want their kids to be able to compete in a global economy. If JPS can't compete in Mississippi, their graduates will probably not be competitive on a more rigorous, global scale.

Author
News Junkie
Date
2011-02-03T14:21:06-06:00
ID
161911
Comment

Don't expect things to change anytime soon. Schools are the overwhelming reason for people moving to the suburbs. This applies to both blacks and whites. It's human nature to want the best for your kids, and if people think that enrolling their kids in a JPS school is not in the child's best interest, they will most certainly move to a school district that they are comfortable with. I have heard some really disturbing stories from people who have taught in JPS schools. Until there are MAJOR changes made this trend will continue. Oh, and btw, I'm a JPS grad.

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2011-02-03T14:25:08-06:00
ID
161912
Comment

I agree with everyone here. But I am at a literal crossroads - I am white, my daughter attends JPS, and I am not happy at the prospect of her education. The problem is, if I dig in really hard, rally the system into real change, and actually see an improvement in JPS - well in those 5 - 10 years, my daughter is the one who has lost valuable time and meaningful education. The real problem is that time is of the essence when considering these decisions. We don't have the luxury of long campaigns hoping things will change. We do what we need to do at the moment, because the moment is what we have to deal with. So the question is how do we deal with the conundrum that it's too critical and time sensitive of an issue to wait for the changes necessary to give our children what they deserve while wanting so badly for JPS and Jackson to become successful for all of its citizens?

Author
Krystal
Date
2011-02-03T14:53:05-06:00
ID
161915
Comment

@ Krystal!!! Sista, you broke it down on that one, I can't argue with you on that comment. Krystal I can't even lie to you, most of us are doing it by living in Jackson, eating in Jackson, spending in Jackson - the rest is up to us grilling the politicians, the school board and other elected officials and holding them to the fire for action to take place. Time is of essence, its just up to us to keep pushing the issues and the concerns.

Author
Duan C.
Date
2011-02-03T16:53:41-06:00
ID
161919
Comment

I'm so sick of folks telling me/us that this isn't a black problem; this isn't about race; it isn't racial... Listen, the school district is 98% BLACK....THEN IT IS A BLACK PROBLEM....THE COMMUNITY IS BLACK....at least as far as it goes with JPS school district! That doesn't mean it doesn't have an affect on the white community or the community as a whole. But trying to paint a pretty picture that this is "only" about education is only worsening the problem. If this district was split 50/50 white/black, this, sir, would not be a problem. TRUST THAT!

Author
Queen601
Date
2011-02-04T12:15:29-06:00
ID
161921
Comment

I smell charter schools.

Author
jbreland
Date
2011-02-04T12:39:13-06:00
ID
161922
Comment

"I'm so sick of folks telling me/us that this isn't a black problem; this isn't about race; it isn't racial..." If it was strictly a "black" problem, there wouldn't be such increasing numbers of black students enrolling in private schools, or black parents moving to suburban school districts. There's a difference between "racial" and "cultural".

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2011-02-04T13:44:01-06:00
ID
161926
Comment

DOn't think everything is wine and roses in the suburbs, folks. Everday I pray for my child going to Brandon High School--we've got drugs, we've got sex on campus, we've got teenage pregnancies, we've got school-sanctioned hazing, we've got it all, too. And we have an ELECTED superintendent and school board that is supposedly respnsive to what people want. I guess that's what people in Rankin County expect--but not me. I want it changed, and I wanted it changed yesterday. My child is not yet a statistic and we work at home to make sure she never will be. I'm tired of expecting the school system to change when BHS alumni (including my husband) say it's always been that way. I want the change to start with my child doing her level best and us adding to her education everyway we can. If more parents had that attitude, the children would get educated, whether attending public schools or not.

Author
JDLW
Date
2011-02-04T14:52:11-06:00
ID
161927
Comment

Interesting discussion by all, and I too am at a crossroads. I have a two year old and I am well aware of the challenges that my wife and I face when it comes to her education in Jackson and MS period. The issues concerning education in urban areas are quite complex. The main problem is residential segregation and the resulting concentration of poverty. The issue with JPS isn’t so much that its 98% black student enrollment, it is that 85% of them are poor (on free or reduced lunch). No community with that poverty rate will thrive, and no school system that tries to educate the children from such a community will succeed, regardless if the racial makeup is predominantly black or white. There is a racial component to this, because there are plenty of poor white people in MS, but they aren’t as concentrated as we see in black communities. There are poor whites, but they attend school in areas like Pearl, Madison, Rankin, Desoto, where the concentration isn’t as high, and they can benefit from the middle class community characteristics (access to businesses, safer communities of learning, better and more experienced teachers and administrators, access to the same suburban resources, etc.). A few years ago, I did an informal survey of the types of learning environments students in MS were learning in. In 2008, the 98% of the white high school students in MS went to a high school that was at least at a level 3 (or by today’s standards “successful”) according to the state accreditation ratings system. By contrast, only 62% of the black students in the state went to a level 3 high school. That tells me that even if white students are “poor”, they still benefit from going to a good school. But, if a black student is poor in MS, chances are they will attend a failing school. What does that say about the prospects of these poor black students in improving their lot through education? The reality is that a successful school district in MS, and anywhere for that matter, has a lot to do with the type of community it serves. To improve JPS, history and current studies suggest (once you get past the Teacher Union/Ivy toward rhetoric about “super teachers” and “waiting for superman”) that what really works in public education now is segregation. If you come from a poor community, you are doomed to go to a poor school, due to residential segregation (by class, which is highly correlated with race). This is an issue of poverty. No amount of educational leadership, teacher quality, nor school reform is gonna solve the problem of community breakdown due to white flight. No, I am not saying that in order to be educated, black kids need to learn with white kids. I am saying that poor black kids need to learn in more diverse settings than they have access to. NCLB doesn’t force teachers to teach to the test. Nowhere in the law does it say that. Teachers teach to the test due to pressure from administrators to get test scores up. (Not so) Surprisingly, the schools that rely the most on that method are the ones that perform the poorest, mainly because of the student population and the fact that the teachers and administrators aren’t the best at teaching that population. These state tests have nothing to do with student achievement. They have everything to do with adults, property values, and politics. God forbid I was charged with turning a struggling school around, but the first thing I would do is ban any practice test drilling for a state test. All a student has to do is pass it in high school to graduate, and you can pass these tests and score in the basic range in MS. Students are better served learning the critical and creative thinking skills necessary to place themselves in the best position possible to take advantage of the service based economy that is here and ruling the world. I would gear them toward college, no matter what their ability or desire after graduation, because if they prepared to succeed in college, they can succeed anywhere, and they have more options. Nothing against vocational education, but the students would have to learn those skills as they were prepared for a 4 year college education. Anything else is limiting their potential, and schools cannot be in the business of limiting any student’s potential.

Author
Renaldo Bryant
Date
2011-02-04T15:31:09-06:00
ID
161944
Comment

I think there needs to be a complete overhaul of the school system. Teachers (the good ones) are frustrated. Students are running the schools. They are not learning anything -- clearly based on the statistics. Seems like administration is far removed from what's happening in the hallways. There is so much accountability here that I don't see how anything will every be resolved. SideNote: There are students who behave one way at home and then go to school and behave entirely different. Why? Because there, they can get away with it. Consider this before blaming the parent/household/upbringing.

Author
Queen601
Date
2011-02-07T10:08:19-06:00
ID
161945
Comment

Kaze and others, I agree with most of the comments; however, I do take issue with re-instituting "coporal punishment". We no longer beat dogs, remember? Over the past 20 years, I have worked with so many kids who had already been beaten to the canvass. Some of these youngsters have been physically, sexually abused and of course the emotional factor is always present. Many young girls, some as young as eleven, have been sexually abused by their mom's boyfriends. Drugs and alcohol are common place in some of the homes and kids have easy access. Still another factor is grandparents who are ill, but, are trying to raise their son's and daughter's kids. Many of them are being fed poor diets. This group make up a large portion of the population that teachers are trying to serve. It has been only a few years ago that JPS hired Licensed Clinical Social Workers and Licensed Professional Counselors to identify and address the social and mental proplems faced by these individuals. It is hard to ask a kid to respect a teacher when he/she is being disrespected and abused. We must look at the problem holistically and provide remedy based on the REAL problems that continue to produce maladaptive behavior and a community that is laced with total frustration and disgust.

Author
justjess
Date
2011-02-07T10:18:08-06:00
ID
161946
Comment

Justjess. I disagree. Vehemently! There is a decided difference beyween "discipline" and abuse. The two aren't the same. Yes! Lets do away with abuse and lets aid those kids who have been unjustly subjected to it. They are special cases. But these students must understand that there are consequences for disrespect. Currently, there is NO fear, no system of accountability for disruptive students. Especially those students with parents who don't care. If you've been in a JPS school lately(and I am often) you'll see the kids run the adults. Your only consequence? Principals office. Getting sent home? Cmon. Teachers are getting cussed out, ignored, walked away from, and threatened. It's hard to keep a peaceful learning environment when that happens. Most Black males I know refuse to teach, regardless of the love because they say they refuse to be disrespected by a 14 yr old boy who steps up to him like a man. Rename it. Repackage it and reinstate it is what I say. and I GUARANTEE! I'll bet the farm on it! you'll see a difference.

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2011-02-07T11:35:23-06:00
ID
161947
Comment

Clint. No problem with testing. It's the emphasis of memorization(for the sake of a rating) over retention. Kids are being speed-fed info to satisfy NCLB. That doesn't help them in the end and usually results in teachers at the nxt level having to revisit and review info to refresh their students so they can move on. It should NOT be the only means by which schools are graded.

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2011-02-07T11:38:49-06:00
ID
161948
Comment

There is strong evidence that corporal punishment is racist. You can "rename it" or "repackage it," but corporal punishment will always be applied disproportionately to black youths, especially in a state with Mississippi's history. It's an easy answer to a difficult problem, and like most easy answers, it's wrong.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2011-02-07T14:57:42-06:00
ID
161949
Comment

No doubt, Brian is right. When I did my school-discipline fellowship, I learned that the more punitive and violent forms of school discipline are always applied disproportionately to kids of color, especially boys. And there is serious doubt whether corporal punishment is effective as a societal practice -- I mean, by definition, it is teaching kids that the way to deal with problems is with violence. (Much in the same way that the abused often pass on abuse because they're taught to do it.) I'm sure there is a lot of research on this aspect as well, but I don't have time to dig it out right now. Even if you say it worked on you, you have no way of knowing whether you would have turned out differently had parents chosen a different form of discipline.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-02-07T15:58:40-06:00
ID
161950
Comment

Well Brian you can't exactly tell me I'm wrong.. I'd say you disagree with me and my suggestion. You can roll out all the studies you wish. that's fine. I don't want this discussion to get hung up on just part of the problems. JPS is 98% Black so in that case yes you're right. Most of the kids getting disciplined will be Black. However, with all due respect, those that don't have kids or teens. Have kids in jps, or have taught or worked in JPS then you don't know what these educators are going through and can't tell me much on how discipline works. BUT...i still won't say you're "wrong". Discipline in schools works Brian IMO.. It worked for me. My family. And for my classmates coming up in the JPS ranks. I'd dare say the district's problems can be traced back to the year immediately after Benjamin Canada ended it. But I won't say you're "wrong" I'd say you don't see things as I do.

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2011-02-07T16:00:00-06:00
ID
161951
Comment

Dear Tyler, I am sorry you feel the semantics of my comment were "offensive"--you being white male and all. I'll make sure to use the "lily white fluffy" term for instituational racism from here on out to ensure that I do no offend your delicate sensibilities. Bless Your Heart, Lori P.S. Different thread but same idea--I work with "Gentle Ben's" wife (and I have for eight years) WONDERFUL woman. But this relationship with his family prevents me from believing the sunshine you are desperately piping up everyone's "no-no" hole concerning race relations at Ole Miss and how "traditions" carried on do not carry weight or hurt for the current population of African Americans in this state. (I'll take a hand slapping if needed for that comment)

Author
Lori G
Date
2011-02-07T16:00:22-06:00
ID
161952
Comment

Sorry to get all "Psych 101" on you Kaze but positive reinforcement (a reward system based on good behavior) has greater rates of change for behavior than negative punishment (spanking, etc) http://allpsych.com/psychology101/reinforcement.html

Author
Lori G
Date
2011-02-07T16:04:18-06:00
ID
161953
Comment

Thank You Lori. I'll digress. I don't want to harp on it. We need to keep discussing ALL of the issues. We won't ever reeeaallly see eye to eye on the CP deal. My mindset is made up on that issue. I've seen too many male teachers/coaches completely emasculated by a tough acting 13 yr old smh. So I'll say we agree to disagree lol. And when there wss no cable, DvD, handheld video games, computers, phones, Ipods, Ipads, access to soooo much etc positive reinforcement worked like a charm IMO. This generation of kids are far ahead and feel far more entitled than my geen ever did. Our teachers need to be respected. Thatisall

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2011-02-07T16:12:54-06:00
ID
161956
Comment

Ain't nothing wrong with whipping these children. Back in the days when our mothers was the best linebackers most of us knew children were good. My mother used to sit by the door working on her sewing machine and the only thing she ever stopped for was to knock me and my brothers out two or three times a day. And at school we had 'Fessor Moore, a notorious thug, who pulled his switchblade on me when I was in the 4th grade. He told me he didn't play and would cut my young little ass if I did not start acting better. He pulled his knife because he had forgotten and left his gun in he car that morning. One of the happiest days in my life was when Willie D, 15 years old, but still in the 4th grade told all of us he had a pistol and was going to kill Fessor Moore if he ever raised his hands at him again. That same day we forgot and left some chairs outside that got rained on and ruined and wouldn't anybody tell who did it. So Fessor Mooore decided he was going to whip everybody at school until somebody confessed. I was always looked upon as a bright child so I got right behind Willie D so as the witness the slaying of the school principal we all wanted dead. When Willie D bent over and Fessor Moore started to beating his butt I nearly fainted because I was expecting the river to part and the slaves finally to walk free. That never happened, and all we saw was Willie D's cheeks weakening after every lick. I still hate Willie D to this day for failing us. A year later, I was playing with one of my friend's knife and talking. A female student told Ms. Hayes I had a knife. Later that day instead of walking all of us to the cafeteria as was the usual case in a single line, Ms Hayes had us walking in a circle and I got the notion she was looking at me. Ms. Hayes was a very large lady and I figured I could outrun her. Once I took my eyes off of her, she grabbed, picked me up and threw me against the wall. I don't remember anything else, but my classmates said I was shaking and they think I fainted or lost consciousness for a minute or two. This was the beginning of my becoming a very good boy at school. Ms. Hayes taught 6 or 7 of my younger siblings and asked everyone of them if they knew me, and once they said I was their sibling she told them to ask me what she did to me in the 5th grade. I hated her for years, and after she retired and learned I was in college and law school, she asked that I come by to visit her. I finally made my mind up to go visit, but she died the day before. I imagine she's in Heaven saying she scared me into becoming a good boy. The inmates can't run the prison.

Author
Walt
Date
2011-02-07T18:48:21-06:00
ID
161957
Comment

I've been encouraged yet disheartened at the many comments I've gotten on this issue offline. A lot of teachers who wish to keep their comments private. First of all it's a shame they can't speak out. They need a voice...somewhere. One comment that was particularly interesting was one I read that said someone should do a survey and find out how many of the teachers/principals/administrators in JPS ACTUALLY send their kids to JPS schools. The person told me that we would be SHOCKED to find the number of folks who draw a check from JPS yet don't have the confidence to send their own to JPS schools. Would we be surprised? And what does THAT say. We're at Defcon 4 people SMH.

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2011-02-08T07:23:10-06:00
ID
161958
Comment

The jury is still out on CP in schools for me. But I will say that at home, parents had better start implementing some form of punishment. It's not the school administrations duty to chastise or correct behaviorial deficiencies in students. THAT starts at home. I feel like some form of punishment for those who are disciplined at home and STILL come to school and show out should be encouraged. However, parents are responsible for that primarily; schools are responsible for education. If parents aren't dealing with their children at home, then education becomes a secondary focus for administrators in school - and that is a simple shame.

Author
Queen601
Date
2011-02-08T08:45:22-06:00
ID
161959
Comment

Moving away from the argument on CP.. I understand the pain of the parents who have kids in JPS. But we should also understand that we are part of the community that drives those schools and therefore we should decide to be part of the change that will make our schools better. Driving your children to Flowood is a solution only for you (I hope I don't see her picture in the paper). But if our schools only continue to become a mirror of what’s wrong with our community, then they will continue on the road to failure. I once thought about the suburbs and their "star" schools. But I decided not to follow my friends to the suburbs or try to “sneak” my kids into other districts. But rather my children would join thousands of other kids in JPS and become shining examples of all the things that are right in OUR schools. And they ARE! Rather than run, I would stay and become part of the solution. Listen if we rob our schools of all that is good and successful, what's left? An earlier post said ... "that poor black kids need to learn in more diverse settings than they have access to." The flip side to the coin is that black kids from middle income or privileged backgrounds also need to understand the struggles that their peers have to go through just to survive. That's true for us adults too. Let’s stop joining the crowds who rush to judge and stereotype JPS. Many of the teachers I know care about the kids and they care about teaching. They work hard every day for a check that does not equal all they do. And yes we’ve got a lot of problems, but let’s make sure we are part of the discussion for a new leader that will help move this district in the right direction.

Author
833WMaple
Date
2011-02-08T09:49:21-06:00
ID
161960
Comment

Well said, 833WMaple!

Author
Queen601
Date
2011-02-08T11:18:48-06:00
ID
161961
Comment

I have read quite a few posts and the one consistent theme you keep hearing - "what are the parents doing?" Well that is an honest question, but why not ask the real question "whats wrong with the parents, why are they not helping"? It just amazes me that people expect other people, to just automatically mature, grow up and become responsible adults!? Fight the good fight to raise your children and pull yourself up by the boot straps? Our society, is driven by consumer demand and principal, living for now and not tomorrow and we expect that to not affect, the thought process of the people that live in our neighborhoods and communities!? If Ms. Polly leaves home in a '72 Chevy Nova today and pulls up in a 2011 Mercedes SL600 tomorrow, are we congradulating her or are we wondering how she got it and can she afford to pay for it? Then I can pretty much guarantee you, someone on the block is trying to step their game up to, albeit whether they can afford it or not, to get themselves what Ms. Polly has? With that being said, the very people and citizens of this country, are just not focused on this country and where we are headed and right now, it is becoming more and more obvious that all this stuff ties into this country's success or failure for the future, Jackson is a prime example of that. If the teenage pregancy is high, that means babies are born, living and breathing children, that someone has to care for and guide, to teach what is right or wrong? With that said, if the teenager, who in turn had that child, never received the proper guidance in the first place - what can you expect that teenager to teach that child? Better yet, what kind of citizen can you expect that child to become? That's what leads to my original, point - if you have generations of generations of people, who were either kept away from receiving an education because it was an empowerment tool (Brown vs. Board of Education) or when finally granted the opportunity to receive an education, the quality of the education and the learning environment was not conducive to learning, therefor you have people miserable when going to school, so there becomes a resistence to the importance of education. I have made this statement before and I will say it again, take into account the number of parents and guardians, who have children in JPS and take a survey to see what's the highest level of education completed? Then turn around and do the same thing for the parents of kids that go to these qoute on qoute private schools, and there will be significant differences in the following categories, quality of life, level of education completed, age of parents, household incomes. We can't expect parents to change over night, just because of their age? We have to take into account the quality of lives the parents have? Their job opportunities to provide, are they happy, are they happy with the direction their children are going in? What have they done to help their child be successful? I would love to see the councilman of Jackson have town hall style meetings and give parents the opportunity to answer these question? There are so many contributing factors to the ills we see in JPS, it justs seems to me there some key points that keep getting ignored - by peoples expectations and wants in the leadership of our city, instead of trying to figure out where the problems begin and how we can fix them now? I know I may have lost some of you with this post, but if your confused with anything - please ask me and I will be glad to clarify for you

Author
Duan C.
Date
2011-02-08T12:18:48-06:00
ID
161962
Comment

Here's my argument for corporal punishment: when I was a student at Brinkley Jr. High back in the mid 70s, we had teachers and coaches that would not think twice about wearing out your backside when you got out of line, so there were hardly ever any instances of blatant disrespect from the students to the staff. Another alternative back then was what was referred to as "free labor", where you performed custodial chores or lunchroom work as punishment. And no one is "rushing to judge or stereotype JPS"- we've had PLENTY of time to observe and come to these conclusions.

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2011-02-08T13:22:13-06:00
ID
161963
Comment

833WMaple. AGREED! so how do we do that going forward when the school board seems to pick ultimately who THEY see fit? Was there a lot of parent/community involvement with Dr. Edwards pick?

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2011-02-08T13:29:42-06:00
ID
161965
Comment

I meant to add my take on corporal punishment in my post, but I think there are bigger fish to fry than paddling, spanking or hitting kids to redirect them in school. CP was something used back in the day, I've been on the receiving end of it at school once or twice, but it wasn't what happened in school that worried me, it was what my mother and father planned on doing, is what concerned me in those days.

Author
Duan C.
Date
2011-02-08T13:56:03-06:00
ID
161968
Comment

To clarify, I did not say that you are wrong Kaze. I said that corporal punishment is the wrong answer to a difficult problem. You are entitled to disagree, but dismissing out of hand studies that black children are likelier to be beaten by school administrators does not strengthen your case. It is telling to me that the states that beat more than 10,000 students a year are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. Even if we didn't have statistics to prove the case (which we do), it wouldn't be hard to guess who is getting "disciplined" in these schools. Given that corporal punishment is racist in application, I believe it is morally wrong. It is also wrong for other reasons that Donna described. I thought it might give you pause, given your commitment to racial justice. There are ways to restore discipline in schools without resorting to physical violence. But you are certainly entitled to your opinion.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2011-02-08T16:59:38-06:00
ID
161969
Comment

If corporal punishment can't be done without a racist application (and I know it won't) then I'm against it. I'm for beating the hell out of all the bad children irrespective of race or gender because these girls are hard core too these days. I suggest we don't give them any rights like in the old days until they're out of the house. Once they can't abide by school and house rule I say put them out with no return. I'm ready for good children with good manners, morals and goals, one of which is to get away from me once you're grown.

Author
Walt
Date
2011-02-08T17:45:17-06:00
ID
161970
Comment

For the Record. I'm against viloence. Against racial injustice but as a parent FOR discipline. For it being administered properly and FOR the appropriate reasons. Fairly and justly. As a last resort when other reasoning has failed

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2011-02-08T17:56:20-06:00

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