500 signatures reached
To: We are petitioning the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Speaker of the House of the state of Mississippi
Stop the state takeover of the Jackson Public School District by the state of Mississippi
We are asking Governor Bryant to not sign the state school board's recommendation to take over Jackson Public Schools, and to leave it in local control.
Why is this important?
The state of Mississippi is moving to take over the Jackson Public School District (JPS). JPS is the state's second largest district, the only urban one and is about 97% Black. Mississippi has continually under-funded Black and poor districts for many years. Last year, JPS was under-funded by about $11.5mil during the last school year, while the conservative state leaders have continually changed laws and regulations to make it easier to privatize public dollars (i.e. charter, vouchers, tax credits), starting with 3 charter schools in Jackson. This is a national trend that disproportionately affects Black and Brown communities and has shown negligible gains for our children. We are asking for your support in pushing our state leadership to prevent this takeover. The state of Mississippi has never cared about the Black children of Jackson, and they aren't about to start, so we need your support in letting the leadership know this and allow us to keep local control (achieved through a democratic process).
JPS went through an unfair, and unprecedented audit in order to create the sense of chaos in the district. On Aug 31, we got the results of the year long audit and it was completely off base. We had the opportunity to respond in hearings on September 13 and 14, but the state board still recommended takeover to the governor, without ever reading our responses, documentation, and exhibits.
These are the most pressing reasons why this is an unjust and unfair takeover that is very clearly about the re-colonization of our city and pulling away our resources:
Specifically, we are requesting the governor make a decision to not sign the take over of the Jackson Public Schools for the following reasons:
1. The Jackson Public School District has addressed and corrected a substantial number of the audit findings in the Audit Report released Thursday, August 31.
2. The students, parents and community members stand ready to work in partnership with the district to address those remaining issues within their purview.
3. Many of the audit findings that form the basis of this proposed takeover are administrative and procedural, not educational in nature; yet, a state takeover will directly and negatively impact the instructional capacity and effectiveness of the district.
4. Fact, state takeovers of school districts do not yield improvements in student achievement; rather, more often than not, student achievement is stagnated during the short term and delayed over the long term.
5. State takeovers diminish community engagement and involvement, necessary ingredients to increase and enhance district and student success.
6. Extracurricular activities are important components to student, school and community life. Students in Jackson deserve the right to participate in activities that will enhance their academic, social and emotional wellbeing while preparing for life after graduation. These activities often keep students in school. A take over will affect opportunities to engage in extracurricular activities.
7. The students, parents, community leaders, faith leaders and business leaders should determine the future Jackson Public Schools.