Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What is SPLC's real game in Mississippi?

The Southern Poverty Law Center is attempting to knock charter schools out of business in Mississippi.  It sued Governor Phil Bryant, Jackson Public School District, and the Mississippi Department of Education in Hinds County Court recently as it seeks to block the funding of three charter schools in Jackson.  The SPLC is apparently waging a lawfare campaign against charter schools in Mississippi and other states.  SPLC attorney Will Bardwell whines to anyone who will listen that SPLC is not against charter schools per se, just their funding in Mississippi.  Uh-huh.  The SPLC fight against charter schools in New Orleans gives the game plan away.

Louisiana blogger Peter Cook wrote about the Charter Battle of New Orleans on August 1.  Mr. Cook reported:

Statistics for the state’s African-American students are even more egregious. A recent report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed that only 3% of black high school graduates in Mississippi earned a college-ready ACT score in 2015 and only 1.2% of black graduates scored a “3” or higher on an AP exam in 2014.

In an effort to help reverse these dismal educational outcomes, state lawmakers passed legislation in 2013 that paved the way for the state’s first charter schools by establishing a statewide Charter School Authorizer Board and setting a high bar for applicants. Since that time, two charters have launched in Jackson – ReImagine Prep and Midtown Public – and the authorizer board is reviewing proposals for four additional schools (including one from the New Orleans-based organization, Collegiate Academies) that would open within the next two years.
 No good deed goes unpunished as the SPLC initiated its lawfare campaign in Mississippi:

Some may find it strange that the Southern Poverty Law Center, which gained prominence in the 1980s for its legal battles against white supremacist groups, is leading a fight against Mississippi’s charter schools. But over time, SPLC has strayed from its original mission – fighting hate groups and protecting civil rights – to embrace other causes, including opposition to education reform. In the past few years, SPLC has filed several lawsuits against school districts and charter management organizations that appeared to be motivated by an ideological agenda rather than the desire to redress legitimate legal claims....

 Back in the fall of 2013, a series of student protests broke out at a trio of schools managed by Collegiate Academies, an acclaimed charter network in New Orleans known for its success in getting students to college (and, as noted above, one of the organizations currently seeking a charter in Mississippi). It was soon discovered that a small group of activists – including a woman who posed as a freelance journalist to gain access to the school – were inciting the walkouts. They also urged parents to withdraw their children en masse from Collegiate’s schools during the second week of December. Fortunately, when the day came for the mass exodus, only two parents actually withdrew their children from school and the disruptions ended as suddenly as they began...

Throughout the debacle, there were indications that SPLC was playing a behind-the-scenes role in the protests. They issued public statements in support of the walkouts, including an open letter SPLC sent to Collegiate Academies’ board of directors. I also published a blog post at the time showing that a protest letter purportedly from students was actually written by Eden Heilman, the head of SPLC’s New Orleans office.

Shortly thereafter, a reader sent me internal SPLC emails revealing that the organization was deeply involved in planning and organizing the protests. I never published the information because things at Collegiate Academies died down, but now that SPLC is trying to undermine Mississippi’s charter law, they can help shed light on the organization’s anti-charter agenda....

 The email also included photos from a strategy meeting held the same day at SPLC’s offices with students leading the walkouts at Collegiate Academies. The pictures show SPLC staff members – including managing attorney Eden Heilman – conferring with students over the course of the day.....

 The other whiteboard outlines their tactics for disrupting Collegiate’s three schools, one of which is “a public shame campaign” through social media. Other tactics include a plan to “mob” staff meetings and circulate petitions and flyers in student binders.....
 The rest of the post provides copies of the emails and other information that shows this group's true intentions.  It appears the Southern Poverty Law Center is trying to turn Mississippi Learning into Mississippi Burning.  It remains to be seen whether Bardwell & Friends will engage in such mob tactics in Mississippi. 


Billy Xavier Percy said...

Have to admit this but charter schools will only evolve into more segregated academies for Mississippi children.

The last thing we need to do is create or allow more segregated academies

Our kids need to be learning in diverse environments to prepare them for the real world. Take them out of their comfort zones, to give them a better understanding that not everyone is like them.

Anonymous said...

Bardwell's game is political power sufficient to feed his huge ego.

Anonymous said...

7:24- when you have a school district that is 99% black, what kind of diversity would you like to see? The charters in Jackson look like the district schools unless you are confused in thinking the charters are all white.

As long as we have district lines and the freedom to move as we wish, we're never going to have some diverse utopia. We've tried busing and that didn't work for anyone. Create good schools and people of all color will want to attend.

Anonymous said...

Bill -

Please provide some statistical or other firm proof for this claim. As you surely know, MS's charter school law REQUIRES the charter schools to be at least 80% of the same demographics as the school district it is located in. You anti-school choice people are amazing - let's conscript these poor children, who have had the opportunity and VOLUNTARILY left failing districts, to an educational damnation. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Anonymous said...

Will Bardwell is Patsy Brumfield's son. Be skeptical of anything you read about charter schools in Mississippi Today.

Anonymous said...

It was my understanding that most, if not all, of the charter schools in Mississippi were almost entirely African-American, especially the few in Jackson. I understood that the racial makeup of the schools was entirely consistent with the local demographics.

Anonymous said...

The SPLC is looking ahead. They are protecting themselves.
We all know what is happening to public schools. Just look at the scores of the public schooled children.

If more children are able to attend charter schools more children will be successful in life. They will learn. One thing they will learn is they can make it very well in the world if they just put in the effort. SPLC will not continue to exist if the children and their parents learn how to make their way in the world without someone yelling racist and holding out their hand demanding something for no effort.

Anonymous said...

8:02 Please explain how busing was such a failure. The stats regarding busing show that it was one of the only times in American history that the educational gap narrowed. We got rid of busing because we didn't want to do it. Not because it did not work.

Anonymous said...

Bardwell is an incorrigible douchebag.

Dave's not here said...

splc is a hate group,trying to stir the pot,let them pound sand.

Anonymous said...

Be skeptical of anything you read about anything in Mississippi Today.

Anonymous said...

The stats regarding busing show that it was one of the only times in American history that the educational gap narrowed.


Anonymous said...

SPLC's real game is the same as that of all progressives. Squash anything that threatens utter dependence on government. If you want to be in good graces with the progressive elites, assume the baby bird position; head back, mouth open, and beg. Fly the nest and you become the enemy.

Anonymous said...

Who is SPLC's lobbyist?

Kingfish said...

Bill: Sure you aren't Claiborne Barksdale? Keep regurgitating that lie. It has no basis in fact whatsoever.

By your definition, JPS schools are segregation academies. +

Anonymous said...

@11:03 You can search for lobbyist/clients here:

Click: Lobbyist Compensation
Choose: 2015-- 2016 information is not up yet.
Type in under Client Name: Southern Poverty Law Center
Select: Order by Client
Press: Search

Whatta Douche said...

Busing was a success? In what regard? You can install a dead John Deere tractor battery under the hood of a Volvo. It won't work but you've successfully replaced the battery.

Anonymous said...

When the revolution comes, the SPLC will be the first to be tarred and feather, then hung upside down and forced to watch Two Wong Foo

Anonymous said...

Thank You 9:44am.

This Article,

notes that the achievement gaps were lowest during the height of integration.

I agree with the sentiment that states that if schools were better, people, no matter their race, SHOULD attend. But, there are several realities that many in MS refuse to admit:

-Schools are only as good as the students that attend.
-A school is a mere reflection of the community that it serves
-Residential segregation (and the resultant concentration of
poverty) has the biggest impact on school quality, period
(not school "leadership", teacher experience, instructional
quality, nor curriculum standards-not to say that these
factors aren't important, just not as important as
residential segregation)
-Political leadership at the State level in MS has balked at
fully funding public schools since integration.

Charter schools are an option, but not the answer in and of themselves, to what ails public schooling in MS. Until we as a state muster up the courage to address residential segregation and how it impacts schooling, and therefore economic development and progress throughout the state, we will continue to struggle with schooling.

Anonymous said...

KF, you allude to something important. Jim gets too much of his advice from Claiborne. You mix his hard-headedness with Claiborne's misguidance and you have I-42, Mississippi Today, isolation of the state leadership etc...

Anonymous said...


Bozeman, Willie Morris
Southern Poverty Law Center L20141195 $39,045.00

Cress, Ms. Kelly Davis
Southern Poverty Law Center L20150354 $20,000.00

Dent, Hayes
Southern Poverty Law Center L20150416 $14,000.00

Johnson, Ms. Elissa
Southern Poverty Law Center L20150384 $0.00

Owens, Jody
Southern Poverty Law Center L20150372 $0.00

Anonymous said...

"A school is a mere reflection of the community that it serves."

That sounds so trendy, clever and warm; however, how would you account for the extremely successful examples of (a few) inner city schools up north which, in the midst of poverty and crime, manage to graduate 95% of seniors, most of whom then attend college?

Clue: You can't.

A better claim would be: "A school is merely a reflection of its leadership, parental involvement, its business model and the distance at which it remains from federal control."

Peter Cook said...

Thanks for sharing the information and linking to my post. SPLC's past behavior show they have it out for charter schools. I'll be writing more about the lawsuit in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

Interesting list of lobbyists - would be even better if we could find out what these esteemed individuals were doing for this organization.

Anonymous said...

It was fascinating interacting with the SPLC summer interns this year in Jackson.

They were from law schools all over the place, and they were told by SPLC not to mention in open who they worked for because it could be "dangerous" to do so around here. That they would be "hated."

When this person told me this at the bar I almost spit my drink. "Are you serious?"

They had these kids thinking they were on a Mississippi Burning mission.

Kings and Pawns. Kings and Pawns.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:42,

Name any urban public, non-charter school that CONSISTENTLY (more than 2 years in a row please) graduates 95% of its students? There are many charters that do, mainly because any students that they can't help, they kick out (Urban Prep In Chicago is a prime example of this). I am not saying the charters that work aren't doing a wonderful job with the students THEY CAN HELP. But all schools do a wonderful job with students they can help. The difference is that the typical urban public school can't kick those students out that they can't help, like charters in those communities can.

Even in those instances where the public no-charter is showing those types of gains, it is mainly due to the fact that they have very innovative and creative teachers, curricula, instruction, and assessments (I have no idea where the variable "distance at which it remains from federal control" comes into play here. The Feds don't control any schools, other than perhaps the Dept. of Defense schools). Even then, the effort needed to maintain that level of engagement most assuredly burns out teachers and administrators.

Ultimately, the best remedy for educational inequities is school integration. It works, but the political will simply isn't there to really make it happen. We struggle because the "right" people will have it no other way.

Anonymous said...

at 2:51- very interestinf list. They know how to get around the Capitol and are highly effective.

Anonymous said...

Follow the money...

Anonymous said...

Holy sh*t, 10,000$ on getting legislators drunk and this guy is complaining about poor kids not having a good education. And staffers, too? No wonder these crooks get away with everything. That's why we need real leadership in the senate. Chris would never stand for this.

Anonymous said...

Regarding School Bus transit to fix Jackson's Problem. Won't help. Our schools were integrated wrong. Citizens were not prepared and they ran away. We had school children, even the little ones, on buses over 3 hrs. per day. How can that be good for anyone? And yes, the first year the ratio of black to white stayed fairly good. As dicipline declined in the middle schools, white participation waned. Many people who thought they could stay in JPS changed their minds when their children reached middle school. One remedy that was suggested many years ago was to segregate, by sex, the middle schools. This is a cheap remedy and may do some good even now.

I see the NAACP has filed their own law suits against Charter Schools. Such a shame. Put energy in to constructive behavior not all these destructive and hateful measures. If they really cared about the children this would not be their approach. Saving even one child is important; saving hundreds is wonderful.

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry, but if integration was the best remedy for inequality then we'd have great schools in Mississippi, with equality for all. Our schools WERE integrated, as were our cities and towns, but as the schools continued to lower the education standards and demand less of the students in terms of effort and behavior, the more concerned parents moved to better neighborhoods. Schools also cut back on Special Ed teachers, dumping behavior-disordered students into the regular classroom. Integrated schools in MS range from top-performing to mediocre, to poor. Racial balance itself is no remedy. Even a small minority of students who are allowed to disrupt instruction and bully the students who want to learn can drag an entire school down. It's allowed because administrators are afraid to discipline because discipline reports can affect federal funding, and expulsion certainly does.

Anonymous said...

"The Feds don't control any schools, "

Oh, horseshit, you lying fool. The feds most recently told every public school in the country which bathrooms they had to let the kids use, under penalty of losing federal funding. Texas and other states sued to resist this stupidity, and the matter is in court right now.

Prior to that was the No Child Left Behind Act, and the fed-mandated testing standards.

You libs can't get away with lying anymore. We're on to you, and can refute your ridiculous claims immediately.

Anonymous said...

4:51 - not disagreeing. But still would like to know what "issue" SPLC was looking for help on - was it to fight charter school legislation? Generally when an organization hires multiple lobbyists - especially when it is not an ongoing year-by-year arrangement - there is something specific that they are looking to accomplish. To have Bozeman and Dent on the same team does raise some eyebrows.

Anonymous said...

Funny looking here at thes jealous lobbyist posting comment on here. They know willie abd kelly are the strongest crew at the cap with all the senators and reeves staff. They are just doing their jov. Some times you get good issues some times tuff clients. They are just doing their job so lets not bring them into this.

Anonymous said...

Follow the clues...

Anonymous said...

9:19 - besides being laughable (willie & kelly being strongest crew - with reeves and staff). Nice try, willie, but hard to defend such a claim.

but the real question was about Dent; was he in on the deal trying to shut down charter legislation? And if willie/kelly are so strong, why did they need to bring him in.

Anonymous said...

Will Bardwell is a good attorney. Disappointing to see him go off to SPLC. SPLC was the organization that tried to kill the open carry law in MS. Jody has a concealed carry permit. I found that ironic.

The Equity Syllabus said...

"Ultimately, the best remedy for educational inequities is school integration."

Of course it all depends on how YOU define 'educational inequities'. You're no doubt one of those people who defines it as black kids getting paddled or suspended more often. Never mind that its because they create more of the disruptions. So, automatically, the numbers give rise to the word 'inequity' and the solution is to either paddle more white kids or do away with discipline, and you know where that got us.

Similarly, more white kids graduating and occupying the top 10% of scholars in a school is an inequity simply because they try/study/work harder. Gotta correct these damned inequities by boiling/melting things down to a term we call 'average' just so every student will resemble every other student. Then we will have reached both nirvana and equity simultaneously. What an orgasm for you people!

Anonymous said...

For all on here that are stating that school integration was tried in MS and just "didn't work", please define "Integration" for me, in your terms, because integration was mandated by the Supreme Court in 1970 just as your famed "Jackson Prep" began (Alexander v. Holmes , 1969. Follow the story here So, when was there ever truly integrated public schooling in MS?

@ Equity Syllabus,

Your claims are just Fox News echo chamber babble. Nothing you have stated is remotely verifiable with any facts or evidence. A poor way to construct a worldview and enter a debate.

Anonymous said...

You want to fix the problem, address the pink elephant in the room. It starts with work ethic and a father figure who will tan that hide when his kid acts up. This isn't anything you can just fix by bringing equality. Not bussing, not neighborhood integration. When the social standard of the black community isn't just to survive, but expected to graduate HS, College, and get a respectable job, then all of this is for naught. It all starts at home and no bleeding heart liberal, north or south, nor hot shot lawyer or lobbyist can fix this problem. Hold the parent accountable and get rid of the welfare state and things will get better. It all starts at home and that's not my damn problem.

Anonymous said...

8:45 -- 1970 is significant because that's when JPS was brought under a court order...not to integrate bus (as in bussing). Murrah was technically integrated in either 1966 or 1967. No, the student population wasn't significantly diverse during these few years but it was integrated. Ask any Murrah graduate from the late 1960s and they'll tell you it wasn't perfect but they were trying to make it work. And then bussing came along and made everyone go crazy.

Anonymous said...

@8:02 Will Bardwell is a good attorney? He hasn't even been out of school long enough to be "good."

Anonymous said...

Follow the money, lobbyists and pay attention to the other issues the SPLC advocates for and their 'strategies' for manipulation of key staff and legislators.

Anonymous said...

3:44....You mad, bro?

Anonymous said...

I suggest you follow the ink to the MS History Now article on Integrating the schools. The reason why There was a court order, not just in JPS, but for the whole state was because the meager attempts that MS had undertaken, mainly the "freedom of Choice" system, was merely a smokescreen to maintain segregated schools. The need for another court case after Brown in 1954 bear witness that what most of White Mississippians called "integration" was anything but.

Bussing wasn't a failure, segregation and then the resulting white flight in response to impending integration are what failed the state (and still cripples us today). And no, the schools didn't suffer in quality because of the meager integration that resulted from the Freedom of Choice plans. White folks left before the schools fully integrated, taking with them resources. That is the impetus of the educational struggles we see in many areas around the state today, not "forced integration".

Anonymous said...

Is there anyone who thinks they have the right to tell people they cannot move to send their children to a better school?
Is there anyone who thinks they have the right to tell people they do not have the right to move their family to a safer place?
People need to wake up. It may be PC to say these things but you should have the intelligence to know better.
Would you choose to send your children to a school that could not provide them a quality education?
Would you force your family to live in a dangerous place when you could provide a safe place?

Anonymous said...


White flight didn't happen because schools and communities were becoming unsafe and ineffectual. White flight took place strictly because white people did not want their children to go to school with black children. It wasn't a safety issue or school quality issue or anything else. What we see today in many urban (and rural) centers is the result of concentrated poverty that resulted from white and (later) middle class flight out of communities and schools that were perfectly fine before integration.

Nothing I or any school integration advocate has stated or wanted necessitates anyone being forced to live in unsafe communities or go to "failing" schools. Those things are products of residential segregation. If schools and communities were truly integrated (by class if not by race), we wouldn't see the challenges we see in many urban and rural communities throughout the state.

Anonymous said...

@11:29/donnerkay/kami/jfp intern - you are so delusional its scary that you can vote. Yes, there are some whites that don't want to live with blacks. There are an equal number of blacks that don't want to live with whites. Big deal, it's a wash. The lions don't hang with the antelopes in the jungle but it don't make either one of them bad, just different.

Anonymous said...

11:29 so you are the one who gets to decide where people will live? People have been making up their own minds long before you decided to take the job on. A person can move from any area they may be living in to another without asking you or anyone. They can use any excuse or no excuse at all.
You should put more thought into what made the schools drop in quality of education. Putting the blame on people moving from there is tunnel vision. The school would be the same, should have the same admin and teachers.

Anonymous said...

"White flight didn't happen because schools and communities were becoming unsafe and ineffectual. White flight took place strictly because white people did not want their children to go to school with black children." 11:29, were you there? You obviously get your information from a book as opposed to actually being there in the 1970s. I student taught in Greenville, MS in 1973 in a nice, urban integrated school. Look at Greenville Schools today. If you can find other teachers who taught in the 1970s, they will tell you that school districts that are hellholes today were good schools with cooperative, conscientious black students in the 1970s and later. While there was much resistance to integration in some places, it wasn't the rule everywhere and some of the private schools were laughed about at the time. I visited one back then, and there were two books in the library- a cookbook and a bible. It was the ensuing crime in neighborhoods and communities, relaxed academic and behavioral education standards (in order to get more federal funding) as well as education trends such as touchy-feely, self-esteem-building curricula and other forces that led to white flight. The ridiculous thing is that you aren't even aware that our schools in Mississippi and most of the South ARE integrated today. The reason Jackson School District is all black is because the city is mostly black.

Anonymous said...

It takes a special type of person to blame people not living in an area for the decline of that area. Common sense will tell you it is the people living in an area that causes it's decline. Stop blaming people who do not live in the area and get a job. You will notice the decline in areas where people do not work or pay taxes. Who in their right mind would want to live in such an area?

Anonymous said...


It's worse. It's a black person blaming the decline of their community on the fact that white people left the community and blaming those whites.

Sadly, the LBJ initiative to get blacks voting Democrat worked wonderfully. A cultural brainwashing has occurred that blacks do not take responsibility for themselves. Using slavery as a backbone, and enduring state of dependence was created.

In this case, black people had every opportunity to take Jackson and make it what they wanted. They failed, just as black democrats have failed numerous other cities.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:00
There are no lions in jungles. That would be different......

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