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Veteran Hip Hop Artist Wants Mississippians' Ideas to Improve High School Education
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View of Outdoor Exhibit at MS Children's Museum
Desare Frazier

"Here's your opportunity to shape your future," said Hammer.

That's the message MC Hammer, veteran hip hop artist, is sharing with youth about a project to reinvent high school education in America called XQ: The Super School Project. They invite young people to talk about their ideas and frustrations at the traveling road show. 

"It has been the most interesting and most rewarding, the student round tables, to hear the voices of the students say 'this is the way I wish school was, and by the way, this is the way I wish school wasn't,' " said Hammer

XQ is visiting cities that include New York, Boston and New Orleans. They're in Jackson, at the Mississippi Children's Museum, to hear ideas to improve education from all segments of the community, including teachers, parents and business leaders. Marlene Castro is with XQ, and says the American model for school hasn't changed in more than 100 years.

"How would you reinvent it? How would you re-imagine it and what would you do differently to better prepare students just for the rigorous challenges of colleges, careers and life," said Castro.

Visitors can see the exhibits and record their ideas in a state-of-the-art booth. 

"When you're done hit the button again to stop it," said the assistant.

Maureen Jackson is getting help recording her comments.  

"I think that we spend so much time kinda teaching to test and don't give kids an opportunity to actually spend time asking questions," said Jackson. 

XQ is looking for the best ideas and teams that want to turn them into reality. Judges will select the top submissions and $50 million dollars will fund creating five to ten super schools over the next five years.  

The hosts of the event are Donna & Jim Barksdale, Governor William Winter, Bill Bynum of Hope Policy Center and Credit Enterprise Corporation and Susan Garrard, Exec. Dir. of the Mississippi Children's Museum.