High school students in Mississippi's 2nd largest school district say the state's plan to takeover the system won't solve their problems. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
Student ambassadors from all seven high schools in the Jackson Public School District held a news conference at city hall, to discuss concerns over a possible state takeover. Seventeen year-old Dante Moore is a senior.
"We believe the solution is to maintain local leadership with greater collaboration between JPS, MDE, local leaders, our communities, parent and students to address the problems in our schools," said Moore.
According to an 18-month audit by the Mississippi Department of Education the problems include violations in 24 of 32 standards including poor class instruction, lack of discipline and lax testing security. The state board of education voted to take over JPS and is waiting for the governor's approval. Moore thinks a takeover will make student morale worse. Seventeen-year old Zion Blount says they already feel neglected.
"JPS hasn't been really giving us the quality education that we need and I don't think it's only on JPS terms. I feel like Mississippi as a state has really let us down," said Blount.
Latoya Washington interns with Operation Shoestring, an organization that works with youth and helped coordinate the new conference. The Belhaven University student is a JPS grad and can relate to the students' need to be heard.
"Students then had ways that they thought that it could be better but nobody ever asked that question or nobody ever gave them that chance to speak. And to see it happen again, but on a larger scale of to the point of takeover, is again, they're missing the point. They're not asking us what we want," said Washington.
Governor Phil Bryant is waiting for the latest school accountability ratings before making a decision on the state department of education's request. The results will be released October 19.