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Southern Echo is a leadership development, education and training organization working to develop effective accountable grassroots leadership in the African-American communities in rural Mississippi and the surrounding region through comprehensive training and technical assistance programs. Our work has carried Southern Echo staff into 12 additional states across the south and southwest.

Southern Echo's underlying goal is to empower local communities through effective community organizing work, in order to create a process through which community people can build the broad-based organizations necessary to hold the political, economic, educational, and environmental systems accountable to the needs and interests of the African-American community.

“02/14/2012″ - Ayers Lecture Series – Leroy Johnson continues the MVSU Ayers Distinguished Lecture Series with a lecture on “Public Education Budgets as Public Education Policy.” The lecture will be held at the Supervisors’ Building, 115 Court Street, Historic Courthouse Square, Lexington, MS 39095). All lectures begin at 6:00pm.

“08/01/2010″ to “09/30/2010″ - Redistricting Public Hearings – Legislative Reapportionment Committee will hold public hearings to elicit public input concerning adoption of guidelines to redistrict the Congressional, Legislative and Judicial offices in 2011.

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News Archive

Welcome to Southern Echo. Here we invite you to learn who we are, what we do, and why we do it. We work hard to provide our visitors with the information, data and challenging analyses that bring to life the key public policy issues facing our communities. Learn about the communities and organizations with whom we partner to achieve our goals, stay up-to-date with our work, and find out how you can get involved or support our work whether you live in the Delta or on the other side of the world. Our continued success not only strengthens our own communities, but the larger world community in which we all live.

Let us know how we can improve the site and what additions you might like to see. Visit often, check out the photos and videos from our events, and keep up with the news below. We're looking forward to working with you. As always, we are proud to work for you.

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: Director of Development and Communications

June 19th, 2015

Job AnnouncementSouthern Echo seeks a capable, professional, and enthusiastic Director of Development and Communications to lead the organization’s fundraising and external communications strategies and initiatives. Southern Echo is in a phase of ambitious growth, and the Director of Development and Communications will be afforded ample occasion to think creatively and to apply his or her experience and talents in a fast-paced, stimulating environment. The Director of Development and Communications will report directly to, and work closely with, the Executive Director and other Team members, and often will work directly with the Southern Echo Board of Directors.

This is an ideal opportunity for an individual who is:
• A skilled writer, as funding proposal and report writing will be chief among the Director’s responsibilities;
• An accomplished, intentional, and organized project manager;
• Familiar with current communications, marketing, and branding best practices; and
• Independent and capable of performing his or her job functions with limited supervision.

For more information CLICK HERE.

NM Walkouts: Young People of Color Fight Corporate Testing Webinar

March 19th, 2015

SxS REGISTER HERE to join Albuquerque youth organizers Janelle Astorga Ramos (SouthWest Organizing Project) and Maya Quiñones for a conversation about the recent student walk-outs in New Mexico to protest the implementation of the PARCC standardized test in public schools there, and prospects for the work moving forward. The conversation will place the anti-test movement in the context of broader themes of public education such as push-out and the criminalization of youth. Our host will be youth and education organizer Kameisha Smith (Southern Echo) of Holmes County, Mississippi.

This webinar will be accompanied by a Twitter Chat. Our hashtag is #OurEducation.

You can join the webinar from a computer with webcam and microphone or by phone. You will be sent information on how to join the webinar once we receive your registration information. Looking forward to seeing you March 24!

“Explaining Disparity in Student Performance” in Mississippi - A Special Report by Southern Echo

March 18th, 2015

Explaining Disparity On Thursday, February 19, 2015, Southern Echo and the MS Delta Catalyst Roundtable released a new report “Explaining Student Disparity in Student Performance: Race, Class, Critical Teacher Shortage, Student Performance and School District Ranking in Mississippi School Districts” followed by a Twitter Town Hall discussion from 3:30pm to 5:00pm CST. We are providing you with an advanced copy of the report in hopes that you will help support its release.

The report documents that:

· Educational Opportunity in Mississippi is skewed and distorted by race, class, critical teacher shortages and the failure of the state to adopt effective policies to remedy the impact of past discrimination based on race and class.
· The driving forces underlying school district and student performance are low wealth in the community and student poverty.
· Student under-performance is concentrated in school districts with the highest levels of student poverty and the highest concentration of critical teacher shortages.
· The concentration of student under-performance, student poverty, community poverty, and critical teacher shortages is in majority black school districts.

The charts, graphs, and tables in this report also reveal the direct correlation among school district grade rankings by the Mississippi Department of Education, failing schools, critical teacher shortages, student poverty and majority black school districts.

In short, the factors of school district and student performance, poverty, critical teacher shortages and race are integrally entwined and interdependent in the present context.

At the same time, in the highest wealth districts with the fewest students in poverty, there are no reported critical teacher shortages, there are no reported failing schools or school districts and student proficiency levels in math and reading are the highest in the state.

The charts and tables in the report also show the correlation among these factors and the quality of housing, family income, and level of adult educational attainment.

Southern Echo Releases a New Map Showing MAEP underfunding FY 2015, 6-year underfunding FY 2010-2015; 2014-15 District Grades WITHOUT WAIVER

November 6th, 2014

MAEP UNDERFUNDING MAP November 6, 2014, Jackson, MS – Today, Southern Echo released a new MAP which illustrates:

A. the cumulative millions of dollars each district has lost due to systematic underfunding of the MS Adequate Education Program (MAEP) by the legislature in the appropriation budgets of the past 6 fiscal years (FY 2010 through FY 2015); and

B. the extent of such losses in each district imposed by the legislature in the budget for FY 2015 (2014-2015 school year), specifically.

C. the accountability grade rank WITHOUT WAIVER that each local school district received from the MS Dept. of Education for the 2014-2015 school year.

The State Board of Education has changed the accountability standards for district and school grade ranks. This year is the first year of the application of the new standards. FOR THIS YEAR ONLY the MS Dept. of Education has issued two (2) grade ranks to each school district.

GRADE RANK WITHOUT WAIVER: The Grade Rank Without Waiver shows the actual grade rank for the district based on the application of the new standards. This grade is known as the grade rank without waiver.

GRADE RANK WITH WAIVER: The Grade Rank With Waiver provides a waiver of the application of the new standards to those districts that suffered a reduction in grade rank as the result of the application of the new standards. The districts that suffered a reduction in grade rank have been given an alternative grade rank that is the same grade rank the district received in the prior school year before the standards had been changed.

We have chosen in the map to use the grade rank WITHOUT WAIVER to illustrate the impact of the new accountability standards adopted by the State Board of Education.

Some state leaders talk about wanting to operate public education like a business. But we have to question their notion of an effective business plan. It is never a good business plan to operate with far less money than is needed to get the job done effectively.

Yet year in and year out the legislature has been providing far less money than is needed to get the job done effectively. The proof in the pudding is that Mississippi continues to rank very high nationally in accountability standards, but at the bottom in funding, implementation and performance. As a business plan it is wrong-headed to continue to do every year what we know is undercutting the capacity of the school districts to get the job done effectively.

If you find any errors or lack of clarity in the map, please let me know so that we can make appropriate corrections.