November 8, 2017
Dear #OurJPS Family,
Just when we thought it was safe to go back in the water … today happened.
This morning, while the ground-breaking Better Together Commission was excitedly meeting for the first time to plan a way to help JPS, another group, under the direction of Supt. of Education Carey Wright, was solidifying a recommendation to turn JPS into an experimental Achievement School District, under the control of – you guessed it – the State Department of Education. Does this smell fishy to you?
Remember that Supt. Wright announced that the State Department did not have to go along with the Governor’s effort to support and grow Jackson Public Schools through an innovative collaboration with the Mayor and community leaders. She indicated even then that she had a plan up her sleeve – to make sure that the drastic state takeover of #OurJPS would move forward. And, today, she fired her shot over the bow.
Well, it is now up to us – the supporters of Jackson Public Schools – the students, parents, teachers, community, business, and faith leaders to make sure that those who care about the future of Jackson’s children are heard, are seen, and are listened to by this unaccountable group of bureaucrats who think they know better than we do what is best for our students.
The risk is too great – if Wright’s plan goes through, our students may face seven years of underfunding, disorganization and uncertainty during the most important time of their lives. Equally as important is MDE's lack of capacity to turnaround the district. The question is what is MDE's plan for JPS?
The Board of Education is meeting tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. at the State Department of Education Building. Please join us if you can. Call Dr. Wright's office and members of MDE Board and express your displeasure with this proposed takeover. If you can’t attend, follow the live Board meeting at https://msachieves.mdek12.org/.
#OurJPS looks forward to being an integral partner of BETTER TOGETHER, the newly announced innovative, collaborative initiative to improve the Jackson Public Schools. “We are grateful for the vision, leadership, and spirit of cooperation of Governor Bryant, Mayor Lumumba, the WK Kellogg Foundation and the Mississippi Economic Council in crafting an agreement that is in the best interest of the students of JPS,” said Pam Shaw, convener of #OurJPS.
“We believe that community engagement is the best path forward in crafting a successful district for all students. We expect great things from the BETTER TOGETHER Initiative and we are ready, willing and able to make that happen” she said.
Governor responds to unprecedented activism in support of JPS
JACKSON― Members of the #OurJPS coalition applauded the Governor’s announcement today that he would not concur with the recommendation of the state Board of Education that recommended a state takeover of the Jackson Public Schools District. #OurJPS released the following statement:
“#OurJPS is overwhelmingly grateful that Governor Bryant has heard the voices of thousands of stakeholders, parents, faith leaders, students, the Mayor's office, and the business community and allowed the Jackson community to maintain our voice in decisions that affect our students,” said Pam Shaw, convener of the #OurJPS coalition. “This is truly a great day for all of our children, and we look forward to working with the Governor and Mayor Lumumba, as well as proactively ensuring that any new partners in JPS’s improvement have the best interests of our children and the Jackson community at heart.”
The #OurJPS coalition is an unprecedented coalition of community, faith, business, and education leaders, parents, students, and educators. Since state takeover efforts were initiated last month, #OurJPS has vocally responded with overwhelming action including hundreds of attendees at rallies and Mississippi Department of Education proceedings, thousands of petition signatures opposing the takeover, and hundreds of letters to the Governor in support of JPS.