Thursday, November 8, 2012

Governor hires new education advisor from Barksdale

Dr. Laurie Smith became the Education Policy Advisor to Governor Phil Bryant on November 1. Dr. Smith was the Executive Director of Mississippi Building Blocks, a Barksdale Reading Institute Project. Dr. Smith is also the Executive Director for the State Early Children Advisory Council.


Mississippi Building Blocks is a Barksdale intiative focusing on early childhood education. The organization has lobbied for state-funded pre-school in Mississippi. MBB recently asked for $5 million in state funding to establish a pilot pre-school program. The NE Mississippi Daily Journal reported in September:


"JACKSON - Mississippi Building Blocks, which has provided early childhood education in private day care centers for the past four years, says research indicates it has been successful, and it is now seeking $5 million in state funds to continue the program.

"The research is in. It is without question these kids (who participated in the Building Blocks Program) are better prepared for kindergarten," said former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale, who in 2000 donated $100 million to the state to help ensure elementary students learn to read and more recently has touted the Mississippi Building Blocks program.

During a news conference at the state Capitol on Tuesday, Barksdale and others involved in Mississippi Building Blocks said they would request $5 million from the Legislature during the 2013 session. That amount of money, Interim Executive Director April May said would allow the Building Blocks program to reach 2,500 primarily 3- and-4-year-olds.

During the past four years, Building Blocks has worked in more than 350 classrooms across the state, including 18 in Lee County and 14 in Pontotoc County, enacting its program.

The program includes working with the children, mentoring the day care instructors and providing teaching material.

Research done by the University of Missouri concludes that children who participated in the Building Blocks program outperformed those from a control group who were not part of the program in school readiness assessments and also displayed improved growth in social/emotional development.

Those making the biggest gains, according to the study, were from families in poverty.....

Barksdale said it would cost $250 million to add another grade to the public schools. He said the Building Blocks program could be enacted statewide for at least $100 million less. "
Rest of article

The Governor and other Republican leaders have made passing a strong charter school bill a top priority on their agenda for the upcoming legislative session. However, the Barksdale Institute led the fight against charter schools in 2012. Barksdale gave $42,000 to the Parent's Campaign in 2010 (source: Form 990's). The Parent's Campaign only had two funding sources: Barksdale and Parents for Public Schools. Earlier post on Parent's Campaign funding

Claiborne Barksdale is the Chairman of the Board for the Parent's Campaign and the CEO of the Barksdale Reading Institute. Mr. Barksdale has not been too shy about his opposition to charter schools as these statements from 2012 letters to the Clarion-Ledger show:

"Monday's guest editorial ("Education: School choice best idea," June 4) from The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle was poorly thought out and poorly written. The premise of the column - school choice is needed because we have "tried everything" to improve our public schools and nothing has worked - is absurd...

The suddenly popular mantra of school choice is based on nothing but magic thinking - if we set up other schools, they will be better. No proof is offered in the column, just assertion, despite much evidence of the spotty record of charters." Post

or this column submitted to newspapers in Mississippi during the charter school fight this year.  Dr. Smith will advise the Governor on education issues at all levels. 

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

No doubt a curious hire.

But she is hot!

Anonymous said...

Ha, I would not think an anti-education trailer-park guy like Dewey would hire a qualified educated woman for a top job. Next thing ya know he will resign his SCV post!

Shadowfax said...

Who is Dewey and what has his membership in a reputable heritage and historical organization got to do with anything? Or are you just popping off to show your ass?

Anonymous said...

Maybe this explains why Bryant has done nothing to help get charter schools passed in the House

Shadowfax said...

I resent the SCV reference and not by accident it's tandemed, by an idiot, with 'trailer park'. SCV is a thoroughly honorable organization steeped in tradition and dedicated to the study of history and educating the ignorant. Pull up a seat 3:12.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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