Education

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

The United Nations has stated that education is a right to which all human beings are entitled. We, at Southern Echo, agree with this premise and we take it one step further. We believe that all children should receive a free, fully funded, quality, and equitable education. This goal has always proven to be challenge in Mississippi because of its long and violent history of racism and oppression. Many Mississippi systemic structures operate with the taint of exclusionism and prejudice, with the state’s education system receiving the brunt of the disregard. Specifically, the state’s failure to prioritize education has resulted in Mississippi’s public-school system being critically underfunded by millions of dollars. To make matters worse, few schools or districts within the state have truly embraced the mandates expressed in Brown v. Board of Education requiring the integration and equalization of all public schools, requiring the Department of Justice to still issue desegregation orders some fifty years later. The issues that plague Mississippi’s public education system are not limited funding and desegregation orders, but also include efforts to privatize public funds, state-run school takeovers, and racially-based student pushout. Southern Echo and its allies work to disrupt these efforts and ensure that every child has access to a quality, fully funded public education.

Equity & ESSA

In 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which reauthorized the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESSA is designed to be a national education law that demonstrates a nation’s commitment to providing equal opportunities and quality educations to all students. In partnership with the Mississippi Department of Education, Southern Echo facilitates training sessions and provides informative modules and materials centered around understanding and implementing ESSA.

School Climate

More than zip codes, more than demographics, school climate remains one of the best indicators of success within a school. The climate and culture of a school extends past classroom doors and permeates the community surrounding it. It is the climate that reinforces expectations, renders consequences, and maintains continuity. Southern Echo works with school administrators, teachers, parents, students, and local stakeholders to create productive, inclusive, and equitable school climates.

Parent & Student Empowerment

Working with parents, their children, and educational professionals, Southern Echo provides training, education, and resources to public school communities looking to create better academic outcomes for the students they serve. Whether through P16 Councils, PTSA groups, or other informal organizations, the convenings and trainings Southern Echo provides

Full Funding

In 1997, the Mississippi Legislature passed Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) which provided a formula designed to ensure that every Mississippi child had free access to an “adequate education.” The application of the formula was supposed to negate disparities arising from children that live in high-income communities and those that live in low-wealth communities. Unfortunately, the MAEP has only been fully funded twice since its inception, and the Mississippi Supreme Court has recently decided that the legislature is not required to do so. Southern Echo works with its partners and allies to highlight issues of funding and educating stakeholders on their civic options.

Educational Resources

In Educational Resources, you will find maps, reports, and data/scores from many schools and school districts throughout the state.

1350 Livingston Ln., Jackson, MS, 39213 | (601) 982-6400

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