Southern Echo Releases 2 New Maps: MAEP underfunding per pupil in each school district and total underfunding per district

Job Announcement

Southern Echo releases 2 Color-Coded MAPS of Mississippi School Districts that illustrate:
  • FY 2016 MAEP underfunding PER PUPIL in each school district; and
  • FY 2016 MAEP underfunding PER DISTRICT.
  • FY 2016 MAEP Amount that should have been allocated to each district if MAEP FULLY FUNDED
  • FY 2016 MAEP Amount each district lost because MAEP NOT FULLY FUNDED
Fiscal Year 2016 runs from July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016, which is the current school year.

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Southern Echo Comments on Legislature and MDHS Measures to Cut SNAP Benefits

Southern Echo is starting the New Year with excitement and hope as we position ourselves to make a major impact on equitable public education funding and policies; and, work to substantially reduce poverty in Mississippi. We find it appauling that the legislature and MDHS has taken measures to cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP benefits, for thousands of Mississippi’s most vulnerable households at a time when child hunger in MS is among the highest in the country and the state ranks #1 in child poverty. Here’s a snapshot of child poverty and food inequity In Mississippi.

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NM Walkouts: Young People of Color Fight Corporate Testing Webinar

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

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

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.