Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Wall Street Journal Illustrates Challenges of Remote Learning in Jackson

Jackson Public Schools made the front page of the Wall Street Journal two weeks ago and not in good way.   The newspaper picked JPS to show how difficult it is for some public school districts to switch to remote learning when they are plagued by poverty and a lack of technology.  The Journal reported: 

After schools shut down in March, LaKenya Bunton would get home around 7 a.m. from an overnight quality-control job at a factory, doze for a few hours, then become teacher to her 16-year-old son, Amarrius.

Her son, a rising sophomore, had received no remote-learning materials from his school and didn’t hear from most of his teachers. Ms. Bunton’s method included collecting Amarrius’s cellphone and handing him the day’s work: a packet of practice college-prep questions she printed from the internet.

“I’m educating him the best way I can,” said Ms. Bunton, a 41-year-old single mother. “I don’t want him to be behind.”

With the next academic year quickly approaching, school districts and parents everywhere are racing to figure out how to resume learning during the coronavirus pandemic—with the interruption that upended the last school year beginning to look like a longer-term disruption. Los Angeles’s school system said Monday it will start the year online, while New York City recently announced a plan to bring students back to classrooms part time. Districts have to weigh the potential public-health risks of bringing students into classrooms against the shortcomings of remote-learning programs, which schools hastily rolled out in the spring with generally dismal results.

The problems were amplified for children in the nation’s worst-performing schools, including at Jackson Public Schools, where 95% of the students are Black and just as many are considered low income. District parents say if education is the great equalizer, their children are at a growing disadvantage....

In Jackson, like in many other districts, school officials essentially gave up on requiring remote learning last spring. In late April the district allowed children who were passing before the shutdown to skip the last two months of school and still receive an overall passing grade. Some students didn’t have internet access or parents available to help. Even some teachers couldn’t get online at home when schools closed.

Ms. Bunton and other parents said they tried to get homework packets with the rest of the year’s curriculum from their children’s schools, but were told there were none.

Jackson Schools Superintendent Errick Greene said the district was ill prepared for the pandemic. Beyond connectivity issues, Dr. Greene noted that some parents have their own challenges helping their children learn. About 28% of Jackson school parents age 25 and up had no more education than a high-school diploma, and almost 12% had less school than that, according to a five-year estimate in 2018 by the Census Bureau....

Dr. Greene said there could be a mix of in-person and remote learning in the fall, and his goal is to make sure all students can get online and have devices to learn on. But he worries that providing laptops to students could make them vulnerable to crime.

“That puts a target on them,” he said. “I’m stunned at the number of devices and the amount of equipment we’ve lost just through burglaries” at school.

The district’s academic plan is for teachers to go right into next year’s curriculum and fill in the learning gaps along the way. Many students will start having missed about a quarter of the last school year.

Missing those months will leave some children across the country, especially those already behind, struggling to catch up, educators said. “I think of it as an academic death spiral,” said Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington Bothell. “I don’t know how you do algebra without pre-algebra.” (KF: Or fractions)

Jackson’s 22,500 public-school students were already behind their peers academically. About 24% met Mississippi proficiency standards in math, and 27% in English language arts, or ELA, in the 2018-19 school year. Statewide, 47% met proficiency in math and about 42% in ELA.

The Jackson school district is the largest low-performing district in the state with the highest child-poverty rate in the nation. About 43% of Black children in Mississippi lived in poverty in 2018, defined as a family of four with an annual income below $25,465, while 14% of white children did, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Center.

Nearly all of Jackson’s students rely on free- and reduced-school lunch. Many live in neighborhoods with abandoned houses. About a third have no computers or cannot get on the internet at home.  (KF: And the libraries they could use for internet are shut down as well.). 

In recent panels led by the district, most participating teachers and parents said they preferred to have in-person and remote-learning options.

Jasmine Grant is among those without internet at home. Her 10-year-old son, Javonta Eubanks, spent much of his time during the shutdown playing with a remote-controlled car outside their modest home.

Ms. Grant, a 29-year-old single mother, reads to her son and has him read to her, but he didn’t understand work provided by his school and she didn’t have time to help him while working a full-time cleaning job in the next city, she said. Javonta is learning disabled and has already been held back a year.

Her 8-year-old daughter, Jamya Eubanks, largely finished the academic year on her own with school work packets. She made the occasional visit to her grandmother’s house, where there is internet, to check in with teachers.

“It’s frustrating, but they’re my kids and I’m going to do my best,” Ms. Grant said. Still, she’s hesitant to send her children back to school in the fall, fearing they could catch Covid-19.

When Dr. Greene took over as schools superintendent in late 2018, the district’s state performance grade was an F. It has long been noted for underperformance and narrowly avoided a state takeover in 2017.

The district’s overall grade rose to a D in the 2018-19 school year. Dr. Greene said the rise reflected gains made before he rolled out a five-year strategic plan to improve the schools, which includes adding prekindergarten seats and ensuring a certified teacher in every classroom. Nine of the district’s 52 schools have the top A rating for student achievement, student growth and other academic measures. (KF: What he leaves out is the success of 3rd-grade reading gate.  The improvement from F to D took place in the elementary and middle schools where there are several cohorts of students who can read.).  ....

The Jackson school district had a graduation rate of 75% in 2019, lower than the state average of 85%. About one in four students were considered chronically absent, meaning the student missed 10% or more of their school days.

Ms. Bunton grew up in Jackson and attended its public schools. She has high hopes for Amarrius, who she says is headstrong for his age and not shy to give an opinion. He dreams of being a veterinarian, when he’s not playing basketball or videogames.... (KF: Crack the books, kid)

His school, Forest Hill High School, is one of the worst performing in the state, with an F rating. About 11% of Amarrius’s schoolmates scored proficient in math and 16% in English language arts in the latest state exam. Half were chronically absent....

When the shutdown started on March 16, Ms. Bunton said that her son only regularly heard from one of his teachers and that homework packages weren’t available, either online or through physically picking them up.

On April 9, she asked on a district Facebook post if students would receive work packages like a neighboring district. She didn’t receive a response.

The Jackson school district said there was confusion early on but packages were eventually made available at all schools.

Melissa Cole, who has four children in Jackson schools, said inconsistent messages from the district, such as not really knowing what was due and when during most of the shutdown, made learning difficult. “Are they setting my children up for failure?” she said.

She noted the district sent a questionnaire to parents shortly after the shutdown to find out what technology parents needed at home, but parents never heard back about it. Dr. Greene said the survey only received about a 13% response rate, so other methods were used to determine that around 30% of families in the district had device or connectivity issues.

Dr. Greene is counting on stimulus money to help pay for an influx of technology in the fall, and is working with IT teams and law enforcement on security protocols to prevent thefts. He said better technology will improve the remote-learning experience, though it won’t be as good as students interacting in person with teachers.

Mississippi State Superintendent of Education Carey M. Wright backs Dr. Greene’s plan to launch right into next year’s curriculum, without trying to make up for lost time from March to May. “If you start there, children will never catch up,” Dr. Wright said. “Teachers will know the skills they have to fill in.”

Dr. Wright also expects remote work to be required and graded next school year. “We can’t keep saying, ‘Do your best and we’ll sort of, kind of give you a grade,’ ” she said..... Rest of article.
Kingfish note: Ok, guys, lets try something different in the comments.  Suppose one of the parents is reading this post and the comments.  What would you suggest they do if they lack technology or JPS isn't getting the job done for them in providing distance learning.  No smart-ass answers.  Be constructive.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Parent here. Our child’s school printed off worksheet pages for kids to complete and turn in. There were also apps we were supposed to download for our children to view educational videos and they could practice reading and record themselves reading. I understand the apps wouldn’t work for JPS due to lack of tech, but how couldn’t the schools and/or teachers not even bother to print pages for kids to do work? All they had to do was find a printer or a kinkos and print them out. That’s mindboggling. Lazy teachers? Incompetent school staff?

Anonymous said...

Charter schools with corporate partnership/sponsorship is a good start. This will allow corporate citizens to put their money where their mouths are and truly make a difference. The onus will be on the student who must perform in order to stay in that school. Pay for the best quality teachers with proven track records of success ie National Board Certification, 10 plus years of teaching in successful school system, etc. Teaachers unions should have no sway with this process as they are part of the problem, not the solution (they care more about the teacher than the student.) For those who are not familiar with Charter schools, their biggest selling point is they are determined to provide excellent education but can eliminate those students who do not apply themselves to their studies or who otherwise violate school policies. As there is always someone eager to take a coveted spot in what is a limited opportunity, students will typically perform and parents will make sure their child applies themselves and attend religiously. That is not happening with the current JPS format. True enough, many students will drop out due to the fact that academic success requires hard work and continued effort. That is simply a reality of life. Should they not make it at a Charter School, then their failure to apply themselves will be no ones fault but their own - not the teacher nor the Charter School. But then, I often say that failure is the best teacher life has to offer. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn.

Anonymous said...

If the numbers are correct that 43% of black children in the state are living in poverty, then there is basically nothing those families will likely be able to to other than maybe get someone at their church or other community volunteer to assist them. If they have no internet and no other means to teach their children, maybe they should consider moving to a different state that has better support for low income families. Either that or turn to selling drugs or robbing people. There simply are no good answers when there is a complete lack of a support structure to handle situations like this.

Paul Mitchell said...

Well, the obvious answer would be the complete rebuild of city government in Jackson, but that is not going to happen, ever. And since reading is the most important thing for young children, one could promote reading programs through the local libraries, but the library system in Jackson is in a shambles.

Honestly, and quite simply, the best thing that concerned parents in Jackson can do to make sure their kids get a good education is move to a district that places value on education. Then, to help make a difference in the future, volunteer at JPSD schools and help build those schools back. That is going to take time, though.

It was literally just 25 years ago that Forest Hill was the best school at JPSD.

Anonymous said...

You don't need a BS/BA to home school. That is a lame excuse.


Anonymous said...

At the very, very, least JPS parents must DEMAND that their children have personal interaction with a teacher at the school in each subject at least once a week. That's not enough but these children are already woefully behind and the district is setting them up for academic disaster affecting the rest of their lives. The elected leadership of Jackson doesn't give a damn and will follow any suicidal plan their crazy national Democrat overseers suggest. Distance learning can work in the suburbs and for the children of the elite but not for thousands in JPS. But that's not a priority for the overseers and the city "leadership".

Anonymous said...

What's the deal with the rural broadband through electrical co-op deal? Cant something like that be done in Jackson? Can Benny Thompson be seen asking congress to help address the fact that many in his district don't have home access to computers or internet? Honestly, event though short notice, that's the only way you can pull this off for most of Mississippi outside of the more affluent suburbs. Hell, there are affluent people that live in rural areas and they don't have the internet to watch a youtube video.

Anonymous said...

Parents, you ARE capable of teaching your children. Ms. Burton is doing exactly the right thing for her son, since the school has failed her. If JPS can't provide packets, there are free resources if you have at least occasional access to a computer and internet. It will be harder, but not impossible, without the internet. Used book sales (MC has one occasionally) can provide textbooks. Also check with schools - you might can get discarded books from them.


From the department of education:
https://mdek12.org/OAE/college-and-career-readiness-standards

A completely free online curriculum:

https://allinonehomeschool.com/
https://www.khanacademy.org/


Articles with free resources:
https://www.thoughtco.com/free-homeschool-resources-4151635

https://a2zhomeschooling.com/materials/curriculum_shop/free_curriculum/free_homeschool_curriculum/




Anonymous said...

Remote learning in Jackson means no school. However, diplomas will continue to be issued as usual.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, the only thing that I can think of would be for parents to band together and find someone that they know who can help teach the kids. That person could invite a group of kids to their house and teach them if they have the education/technology to do so. Of course, that person would deserve to be compensated for their efforts so that is another expense for the parents as well as defeating the purpose of social distancing.
I understand that kids in school wasn't a problem in Europe so I don't understand why the virus would behave differently here.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Bunton, a 41-year-old single mother. “I don’t want him to be behind..."

Jasmine Grant is among those without internet at home. Her 10-year-old son, Javonta Eubanks...Ms. Grant, a 29-year-old single mother

I'm going to stop right there and say it. You can provide a lot better for your kids on two incomes. No, I don't know their situations, but fatherless homes aren't helping their children's educations. Of the three people interviewed with kids in JPS, two admittedly were single moms. The other with 4 kids we don't know her situation.

Anonymous said...

If the teachers wanted to work, and didn't get paid regardless, school would be starting normally.

Anonymous said...

As a JPS parent, I was utterly disappointed that the district made the decision to go completely virtual. I really think the district needs to go hybrid due to the total lack of infrastructure to handle complete virtual learning. The district knows that most of its families cannot deal. JPS should immediately reach out to all the cellular carriers and ISPs and get a deal for internet access/hotspots to be provided city-wide as a community service deal or extremely low cost. Even offer up the money that will not be used for fuel costs to help offset some of the equipment costs to locate said hotspots and modems around the city. City of Jackson should even offer up some money (don't know where it will come from) to help offset some of the costs to the companies that agree to provide internet service.

Anonymous said...

I know KF only wants solutions and no smart-ass answers but I think the best solution was missed by Phil Bryant. He could have taken over the school district and put them on a corrected path with a seasoned team running the show but he punted as he was scared of being labeled a "R' and I don't mean Republican. Just imagine if that had happened at the time and what the district might look like today...and especially if the district had taken Barksdale's money for hiring the best superintendent possible.

Anonymous said...

There is a reason there is a show called "Are You Smarter than a 6th Grader"

Elite, urban, suburban, rich, or poor when it comes to elementary level education and much of middle school, there is a reason why trained educators are needed and guided education is paramount.

Even when parents were at home back in March and April, more than most struggled with helping educate their child.

Teachers are essential workers. 'F' the unions and 'F' the politics. A lot more of us are dealing with higher levels of possible exposure every day at work.

BTW: Most of the 'elites' who can have a spouse stay at home are not doing that so they can replace their teacher's job. They do it for the benefits of what they can add to that education after school.

Kingfish said...

Better together was pretty much a takeover by Barksdale and Kellog.

Anonymous said...

No in-person school should mean reduced or no pay for teachers and we should get our tax dollars back.

Noah Hanson said...

JPS has spends rough 270MM a year for around 23,700 students. That is roughly $11,400 per student for the year. MRA charges $10,700 tuition per their website for the 2020 - 2021 year. What is wrong with this picture? Its like paying for the Ritz on Canal but getting put in a room at the Royal Sonesta or even worse.

Anonymous said...

So let’s forget about tech and start before that. Let’s look at logistics. 2 parents have jobs they can not afford to lose. Who keeps the kids and then who sees to it they get their learning “on today?” Next, around 75 to 80 percent of the black community is out of wedlock child birth. So a single mom with a job, 2 kids, she can not afford to lose that job. Again, who keeps the kids, who sees too their learning? Now we will have a lot of unsupervised children and teens. How will they be supervised? Fed? A crime spike will occur.

Anonymous said...

Most of the households have tv. Make lessons available on dvd. DVD players cost about $25 retail these days. Whether or not the lessons are used is still up to households, but at least the information is available as long as the discs are made available by JPS, which seems feasible.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:00. There is a group like that in Ridgeland made up of ex and current teachers, Professional types and plain old parents. They meet near the McAlisters so the kids are in somewhat of a classroom setting. Claim not to be a formal school but help the kids along. Saw this on WLBT a week or so ago.

Anonymous said...

The question as posed (if I understand it correctly) is: What would we do if we were a parent in JPS and without internet and technology to connect to school and receive or have use of virtual school/class?

One of the greatest lapses in our school system is reading. It doesn't really matter the material - so long as the kids are reading something that stretches their mind. When I was in school in the 70s and 80s, we were required to read weekly magazines such as Popular Mechanics, US News & World Reports, National Geographic, Newsweek? Our school library kept subscriptions to those (again, this was before the internet and magazines largely became a thing of the past for most people). I had to read crap that I had no clue what I was reading (or any interest in), but I had to read it enough to understand it because on any given day we may be called on to stand at the front of the class and discuss a particular article and explain it. I hated reading. But it forced me to learn something outside of the normal curriculum.

This may leave a void in areas such as mathematics, but it makes the kids read. Too much internet and TV today is bad for kids.

My 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

3:27 makes a valid point. Other cities have put classes on the Public TV stations during certain times of the day. It is not great, but it is better than nothing.

Anonymous said...

JPS parents should apply to the DOE for a waiver which would allow their children to attend any school domiciled in Madison, Rankin, and Warren County. Then apply to the US Government to cover the expenses incurred. A quality education is a right in this country and no parent needs to settle for anything less. This infuriates me ( I live in Madison) and it is simple not acceptable that decent, hard working folks are forced to send their children to abysmal and substandard schools in a toxic atmosphere. Find out who can get this ball rolling and put their damn feet to the fire. Start Today!!!!

Anonymous said...

Teachers are essential, just like health care workers and ancillary personal who are absolutely essential to having clinics/hospitals/ERs etc run. We wear our masks everyday at work and then go home to our families each night. I don’t have a medical degree or nursing degree. I work the front desk at a clinic with patient contact throughout the day. I don’t receive extra pay to do this; it is my job. I’m not sure why they teachers would need to be protected anymore than anyone else. Seems crazy to me, but what do I know

Anonymous said...

@3:10, your analogy could use some work. I would say it’s more like paying for a room at the airport La Quinta Inn and getting a room at the motel 6 instead. Also remember that there are quite a few additional costs at private school beyond tuition. Extras not included included are no buses, lunches, books, field trip payments, supplies, etc.

Anonymous said...

And yet on social media, the faculty and administration of JPS are absolutely yeehaw-ing over staying 100% remote all fall semester.

They think guaranteeing a total void of education is the wise and prudent choice compared to a 0.001% risk of death for teenagers.

Anonymous said...

" Kingfish note: Ok, guys, lets try something different in the comments. Suppose one of the parents is reading this post and the comments. What would you suggest they do if they lack technology or JPS isn't getting the job done for them in providing distance learning. No smart-ass answers. Be constructive. "

I understand your point, and I've honestly thought about potential solutions.

Unfortunately, I see no solution to these problems.

Charter Schools may be the only potential short term solution for the kids that want to learn. I'm not trying to be snarky . . . only realistic.



Anonymous said...

I agree with the idea of using public television. I thought MPB had announced something for that. It’s conceivable they could use MPB Radio not for lessons so much as for teachers—or anyone for that matter—to read aloud quality stories and works. There are documented benefits of reading aloud to children of all ages, including teenagers. This doesn’t teach grammar, but it exposes the ear to it. It doesn’t teach earth sciences or chemistry, but texts exploring those subjects could be selected for the read aloud programs. It is not everything, but it could be something. Let the district provide basic inexpensive radios instead of electronic devices to those who need them since they are concerned with theft.

Anonymous said...

Boys and Girls Clubs on the Coast are offering an innovative option. https://www.sunherald.com/news/local/education/article244550147.html

Anonymous said...

We need to find a way to get these kids to understand that the easy life is just about over. And if we can't compete with Asia then we are all screwed. There is not going to be enough of the population working to feed the unemployed and their children. I don't know how you are going to bring that message home. Uncle Sugar aka Uncle Sam is sick and he ain't leaving no inheritance. We are all on our own.

Anonymous said...

We are already well beyond competing with Asia.

Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher in a metro-Jackson district that is not going to make students wear masks in class, showing no concernnfor either the children or adults.

Comparing schools with medical clinics is apples and oranges. Clinics are requiring masks to be worn. Clinical staff aren't in a closed room with 25-35 people at once where social distancing is not possible. All the doctor's offices I've been in lately have chairs adequately spaced apart. Now consider that a teacher is interacting with 150-180 students daily with prolonged close contact. In other words, both students and teachers are being asked to do many things the CDC and many physicians, including my primary care physician, recommend we NOT do.

Many residents of our area have inexplicably decided that COVID-19 isn't real, isn't serious, is a scam, etc. Think those families are socially distancing and wearing masks in public? Think those parents are keeping students who show symptoms home? The answer is no. Every day, countless parents send students with influenza, strep throat, stomach viruses, etc. to school to ohers, simply because it's more convenient than missing work or finding a baby-sitter.

Do you really think schools are going to adequately sanitize and disinfect? The same schools that don't consistently and effectively sweep, mop, and/or vacuum as it is? There is not adequate time, money, or manpower to make it happen. And teachers will not be able to sanitize desks in 4-5 minutes between classes, so your child will be sitting in the seat and touching the desk that another child just had his or her germy hands all over — not to mention snot, sneeze droplets, etc.

School administrators cannot effectively control a pandemic that has already killed 150,000 people in the U.S. as of today. Children can and do contract COVID-19, spread it, and even die from it, despite many people's refusal to accept that reality.

Those of you who say teachers don't want to work are off your rockers. We got into this field to teach and can't wait to do just that. However, it must be done safely. We did not get into this field to become martyrs or heroes. We did not get into this field to potentially bankrupt our families with medical bills. In-person education is not safe for anyone right now. The risks are too great.

There are effective ways to teach from a distance. Many districts did not do this well during the shutdown in the spring, with many basically telling students that the work didn't count. My district was one of these, and the results were just what you would expect. However, it has been made clear that this will not be the case if we return to online instruction in the fall. Attendance will count. Grades will count — just as if we were in the classroom.

Is virtual instruction ideal? Of course not. But neither are otherwise avoidable deaths or long-lasting side effects of COVID-19. A study published this week in JAMA Cardiology Journal (published by the American Medical Association) found that 78 percent of recovered COVID-19 patients had permanent heart damage.


Before you write me off a as "liberal teacher," let me tell you that I'm a right-leaning libertarian and, as such, believe in personal responsibility as much as I believe in personal freedom. I understand that not opening schools right now in the traditional manner will impose hardships on many parents. However, it is ultimately the parents' responsibility to raise their children. A teacher's job is to educate, not to try to parent — a viewpoint traditionally held by the same conservatives who are now clamoring for public schools to serve as baby-sitters, nurses, psychologists, and social workers. And we teachers can educate, for now, without being in school buildings (in reality, massive petri dishes).

Demanding that students and teachers to return to school right now in a state with an uncontrolled spike in COVID-19 cases is a fool's errand at best and assisted suicide at worst.

Anonymous said...

July 29, 2020 at 8:39 PM - I have good news and bad news. The good news is you are basically correct and your feelings are reasonable. The bad news is that you are basically fucked. Every bit of valid data, both COVID-19 related as well as years of sociological data, indicate that reopening schools in the US will add (likely exponentially) to the already-untenable transmission rate. Those of you working folks who rely on a school system to babysit or even educate your kids, don't feel left out - you're fucked too. And all of you can thank the willfully-stupid assholes who won't wear masks, won't distance, and in so doing, set a disgraceful example for younger people. If schools open "normally," the evidence strongly suggests it will be a debacle. If you are particularly religious, pray. If you are an atheist, think good thoughts...and pray.

Anonymous said...

8:39, your comment is very disappointing if you just read this WSJ article. Nothing you have written is designed to help any parent, it is just excuses. You are an essential worker, act like one.

So, if I was a parent in JPS and virtual learning this Fall is no better than what was offered last Spring, I would find a friend in the Hinds, Madison or Rankin district with a child in the same grade as mine, and I would ask to copy the packets their district will be handing out. I would ask if my child could come sit and watch whatever computer aids they are being offered. If I had access to my own computer and internet, I would check out free online homeschooling. I would ask my church to offer some learning actitivities for its members, maybe there are retired teachers or parents who could tutor. I would try to find 3-4 families in the neighborhood who could do home school activities together. I would buy kids books at Goodwill and Salvation Army, workbooks for young kids at Dollar Tree. I would have my kids reading anything they wanted to read, and then have them do essays and art projects from what they read. I would study one state a week as a social studies project. I would check out PBS, History Channel, Animal Planet, anything like that if you have access, and see what programing they are offering. They had some good stuff for all ages last Spring. I would look at all these options and come up with a schedule of things my kids showed some interest in and make it clear they are expected to stick with the schedule.

This is A LOT of work for parents, but unfortunately you have been thrown to the wolves by your school system. So, do what you can to keep your kids' brains active, even if it is not exactly the curriculum they would be doing at school.

Anonymous said...

To the one wanting solutions. The solution is clear, teachers are essential workers period. The solutions are being proven in all the other developed countries that have returned to school.

Social workers and case managers helping people in poverty are still working. They are seeing more and more people due to them being out of work. Working with homeless and other vulnerable populations is way more dangerous than children.

To the teacher. What school district is not requiring masks? I suspect that will change. And even if the parents think it is a hoax, when their kids are sent home and they can't work, they'll wear masks. Secondly, the DOE has released more funds to help schools with healthier learning environments.

Sorry, you're essential. Unions have hijacked the narrative for political brownie points with the Dems.

My favorite 'I'm a teacher and I will die' story is the one who supposedly called the union to find out how to do a will. If the first place they think of to find out how to do a will is their union, maybe that person isn't bright enough to teach?

Anonymous said...

"...difficult it is for some public school districts to switch to remote learning when they are plagued by poverty and a lack of technology."

The article's list is too short and poverty is not the issue. Here's the official list, in order of significance.

Incompetence
Parental Indifference
Lack of Technology

The first two will never change, no matter how much money you throw at it.

Anonymous said...

"We are already well beyond competing with Asia."

THAT is laughable. Just a small fraction of the discipline and respect for authority in Asian systems and families doesn't even begin to exist in the American "education" (i.e. babysitting) system.

Cardiologist said...

Speaking of learning to read, the study that 8:39 is referencing did not say that 78% had “permanent” heart damage. It described that 78% of the patients in the study who were recovering from COVID had “ongoing” myocardial inflammation. Very big difference. Of course they didn’t teach that at the University of Facebook School of Medicine.

Anonymous said...

Since JPS isn't really educating the kids, give the parents the money associated with their child's education. The $11,400 that someone quoted. Let a group of 10 parents get together and hire a teacher. That's over 100k for the teacher, materials, and some small space. Have the kids during the normal day.

People who can afford to do this are doing it. Obviously the voucher component of this is necessary for most in Jackson, but what do you think would be more beneficial? Learning pods or JPS virtual learning?

Anonymous said...

Just mention public schools, and the racists have to comment. You know who you are.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that some of the churches, kids clubs, etc. could form alternative learning options. I know they need to social distance, but they need to learn how to read and write. I see an opportunity churches!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the rationale behind daycare centers staying open, if public/private "regular" school can't be held. If I turn 6 years old on August 10th, I'm able to attend kindergarten, when school starts on August 17th, however, just a few weeks prior I was able to go to a daycare center all day everyday. I just don't understand how daycares have skirted around this. SHow me the data that school children can get the Rona but 5 year olds in preschool/daycare centers can't.

Anonymous said...

"Of course they didn’t teach that at the University of Facebook School of Medicine."

Ah, JJ - come for the news, stay for the poetry ;-)


I am so stealing that line.

Anonymous said...

Ole 9:42, your standard butt hurt liberal who refuses to acknowledge the facts.

The facts have shown that Jackson's Public Schools are failing and will continue to do so, no matter how much money you throw at them. Mean while the surrounding public schools continue to post passing, graduating and college bound students way above Jackson's. This is not just Jackson's problem, it is the same in ever Dim-O-Krat run city. Failing schools is just tip of the iceberg

BUT, than as a liberal with no answers, all you can do is yell "racist".....know what, I don't care, so are you.

No go get in line for that free organic meal Chok-Wad is/has been promising you for 3 yrs now. Better known as a sh*t sandwich to rest of the free thinking world.

Anonymous said...

@2:11, you made my point. We all know you mean black when you say Dim-O-Krat. The truth is that the JPS deteriorated because whites tried to avoid integration by moving away from Jackson and funding private academies. As Jackson’s tax base has steadily deteriorated, so has school funding. Nobody is “throwing money” at public schools unless it is teachers using their own money to buy supplies (bless them). I agree the JPS system has deteriorated and is under-performing. We reap what we sow.

Kingfish said...

BS. Total BS.

JPS collected more property taxes for public schools than anyone else in the state until last year. It collects the most in property tax revenue per student and has for some time.

Of course, if you want to argue if the businesses haven't left (which I"m sure you and your friends did nothing to prevent leaving), then the tax rates might be lower, fine, but don't argue the school funding deteriorated when frankly the funding was fine but completely mismanaged.

Paul Mitchell said...

@3:14, I have noticed lately that Democrats now think that people calling them Democrats is somehow racist code language, but I've never heard that until recently and I keep up with politics. Why do people think that now?

JPSD spends over $11,000 per student, better performing schools spend less, some far less, and have far less administrative costs. Why does JPSD have such high administrative costs?

Anonymous said...

KF, the fact that JPS collects more than any other system does not mean funding has not decreased over time. It has, and I agree that has been exacerbated to an extent by poor management. And, since you presume to know what I and my friends have not done, I live in Jackson, pay taxes here and support local businesses.

@3:25, I do not object to the term Democrat. I do object to the pejorative term “Dim-O-Krat.” As to why that sort of language has become common, look no farther than the Oval Office.

Paul Mitchell said...

@3:57, Trump is the reason normal people hate Democrats? Dang, he is incredible to finally get people to do that.

Anonymous said...

@3:!4 People did not flee Jackson because of integration. Yes, some did flee to new Academies, but they lived and worked in Jackson. Their tax dollars still supported the public school system.

People left Jackson when the crack epidemic took root in the early '90s. Add to that, the growing minority population began to elect leaders who were more interested in race pimping the constituents that voted them in rather than working with the 'new minority' to keep Jackson safe, beautiful, and thriving.

I'm not a boomer, but you clearly are not old enough to know the history. When the government doesn't support all people and keep them safe, some will vote with their pocket book and their feet.

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Trollfest '09

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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