Thursday, September 3, 2020

Broadcast Mississippi's Best Public Education

This post was authored by Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture Andrew Gipson. 

As the father of four school age children in rural Mississippi, I would like to propose a common-sense enhancement to COVID era education. My proposal won’t cost hundreds of millions of dollars; it won’t take decades to implement; and it will provide an immediate workable solution for our teachers, students and parents. Put simply, my proposal is to Broadcast Mississippi’s Best Education. We can do it starting tomorrow at virtually no cost to taxpayers. How? Broadcast our best teachers over the public digital television infrastructure already accessible by every Mississippi home.

We enjoy living on our farm in rural Mississippi, but like most rural Mississippians, we don’t have access to high speed broadband internet. We did the best we could during the spring COVID semester, but internet-based distance learning is not realistic for most folks like us in rural Mississippi. We found that our children were more frustrated attempting to “zoom” and getting knocked off the internet. Homework was lost in transmission adding to the stress. Without the infrastructure, online learning just cannot work this far out in the country, even if every child were to have an iPad or other digital device. That’s why as your Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, I strongly support every available method of deploying high speed broadband in the rural areas of Mississippi. I fully support more and faster broadband out here in the country, and I appreciate the Legislature and the Mississippi Public Service Commission’s initiatives in this regard.

But what we need is a comprehensive statewide educational digital broadcast plan as we transition to rural broadband statewide. Out here in rural Mississippi, we can’t wait for years or decades for our children to get high speed internet. Our children will be grown by then. Our kids need access to quality education at home, statewide, right now. We’ve seen entire school classes and grades sent home for quarantine and we know this is likely to continue. Parents, teachers and students are facing tremendous stress and uncertainty as students are sent home for weeks at a time, during this COVID pandemic. Many parents have decided to homeschool for the first time. These are just some of the reasons I am proposing to Broadcast Mississippi’s Best Education - starting right now.

As an immediate educational response to COVID-19, I support a partnership between Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) and the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) to devote a 24/7 educational digital television and radio channel that would include daily instruction by a rotation of Mississippi’s very best K-12 teachers by grade, and every basic educational subject. I’ve already personally confirmed this is possible with the leadership of both MPB and MDE.

Students and parents could tune in with a set daily routine of instruction. This program would reach every household in Mississippi - no matter how rural or urban. For those distance learning through the local schools, assignments and homework would be turned in and graded by a child’s local teachers, so students would continue getting direct input from the teachers and local school districts who know the student’s personal needs. Those on quarantine or choosing to homeschool their children would have a daily routine of consistent instruction, as well as providing new opportunities to reinforce studies for the children attending in person.

The pedagogy and curriculum can be crafted by the experts. But my vision is that every weekday, each grade has several short lessons with corresponding assignments, followed by the next grade level, and the next. This certainly wouldn’t replace in-room instruction but could supplement those at home wanting to advance and not fall behind. For those that do have access to high speed internet, all the lessons could be archived and enhanced with downloadable materials. It isn’t a perfect plan; but we should never let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

This simple idea - Broadcast Mississippi’s Best Education - could reach every home and every child in Mississippi with a digital TV antenna, cable TV or radio, at practically no cost to taxpayers. And it can be archived and utilized via the internet, as well. We already have the infrastructure, and I am certain our best teachers across the state would gladly step up to participate.

Just as important, this concept has the potential to present a complete paradigm shift for Mississippi’s future. Even in normal times, this broadcast would be the perfect opportunity to reinforce learning for every Mississippi child attending school. Our children deserve the best education they can receive, whether attending in person, distance learning, or home schooling. Let’s get this done for all of Mississippi’s children.


Anonymous said...

"The pedagogy and curriculum can be crafted by the experts." I'm not sure The Man in the Big White Hat realizes that his entire article was a proposed pedagogy.

Anonymous said...

This makes so much sense I want to slap everyone who didn't think of it first.

Anonymous said...

Just go back to the school house. See how the pig killing bidness works out first.

Anonymous said...

This is already being done in Mexico.

One gigantic problem- it’s already September and far too late to implement.

They had six months to prepare.

Anonymous said...

What an utter moron....children need more authentic, actual facetime with adults outside the home in order to prepare to make it in the workforce, not more isolated screen time. Unbelievable that he has publically taken this position.

Anonymous said...

Stick to cows Andy.

Anonymous said...

Once again, everyone seems to be an expert as to what is and isn't needed..That said, as an elementary student in Memphis City Schools in the early 1960's, every 6th grader received science lessons broadcast from the local PBS station.

Anonymous said...

just like communist china.... great idea SMH

Anonymous said...

@7:09 Right on brother, right on.

The problem with morons is that they really don't have a clue. This poor fellow is no exception.

If my experience is any indication some huge fraction of education's worth is socialization. Force a child to deal with other children, figure it out. You won't get a big bunch of that watching TV.

Hookah said...

Is Andy a real cowboy or does he just dress up like one because he us the Ag Commissioner?

Anonymous said...

Credit where it's due, this isn't a _bad_ idea but there is a pretty large problem:

The reverend writes, "This simple idea - Broadcast Mississippi’s Best Education - could reach every home and every child in Mississippi with a digital TV antenna, cable TV or radio, at practically no cost to taxpayers. And it can be archived and utilized via the internet, as well. We already have the infrastructure, and I am certain our best teachers across the state would gladly step up to participate."

While it is true as far as it goes, the problem is the (infra)structure unfortunately. Many folks no longer have antennas and haven't even considered "over the air" TV in years. Some "media systems," such as those in "theater rooms," don't even have tuners. And on the other side of the socioeconomic spectrum, if folks don't have in-home internet access (or reliable highspeed access) for either economic or geographic reasons, they can't stream educational TV anymore than they can stream Netflix or anything else. Similarly, if a family doesn't have a computer, even having highspeed "at the pole" doesn't matter. That said, it doesn't make his thinking "wrong" or "bad," or that it shouldn't be offered, it just means that it isn't the complete, free-to-the-taxpayer panacea solution he appears to believe.

Anonymous said...

I love this idea. Let's not invest in new technologies and bring everyone up to a new twenty first century standard. That's too hard and costs too much money and people have to learn new things and join the rest of the world. Let's go back to the good old days and twentieth century technology like public television. This is just a plain, good ol' "common sense" solution from The Man in the Big White Hat.

Anonymous said...

Can Andy tell the difference between a bull and a heifer?

Anonymous said...

This dude needs to stay in his lane and worry about cows and farms. Is it just me or is everyone trying to make a name for themselves lately since tater tot was elected? Is it because tater is weak as governor and everyone knows it?

Anonymous said...

Mississippi too often reminda me of a pig carcass covered in flies and excrement. The politicians are the flies and the two most prominent voting blocka are divided between the putrid carcass and the excrement.

And the entire is scene is abhorrent.

Anonymous said...

Good grief! This is hardly a new idea!
I took French lessons in 1957 via a television feed from a State supported university. I was in the 5th grade.

As a result, of that continuing until a French teacher was available in my county, I had 5 years of French lessons with the last three being in class with the teacher.

Also, another idea that many States to improve education ( and like televised teaching has been resisted here for decades) should be done here. They allowed those with a masters degree or PhD in a subject to bypass paying to take education courses to be a licensed teacher as long as they taught in their subject area. Those with advanced degrees do not want the cost of classes that will bore them to tears. And, if a PhD candidate needs extra money to , oh prepare to reduce tuition debt, they could earn money in a classroom but not go further into debt to get to that classroom. A free generic course and in school training session would do.

Those " innovations" produced some of my best teachers...retired college professors who taught part time and women with advanced degrees who had been stay at home mothers, but who were " empty nest".

The resistance , especially in the legislature, to incorporating ideas that have worked elsewhere to improve education is inexplicable. I can only guess they fear their incompetence might be revealed.

Anonymous said...

What is the with some of you people? You act as though there is a subversive movement to close all schools permanently. Geesh. Lighten up, Francis. The conspiracy theorist are out in force today!!!

Anonymous said...

Stupidest post of 2020. And there have been a lot of stupid posts. Broadcasting a great teacher to the masses is not the same as actual interaction.

Hell, why have churches? Why have parents? Just take the best parents and put them on the internet. Will free up a lot of time for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

This has to be one of the few times an elected official actually authored his or her own social media post. No professional campaign manager or marketing firm would have ever let one hint of that piece hit the internet, and nobody with a political pulse could have written it.

Anonymous said...

He is running for something .It is obvious that he bigger plans than just Ag Commissioner......... jeff

Anonymous said...

He is trying to get as much positive PR as he can get because he knows what’s coming. Watch for it!

Anonymous said...

The JJ idiots are out in force today, responding to a very good idea for providing supplemental educational material for those who are having problems educating their kids during this pandemic (Which may last another 2 years).

A simple fact: There will be no PBS PoPos, looking through your den window to see if you are using the proposed service. This will be offered to allow Mississippians to help teach Mississippians during a time when many kids will get left behind.


Anonymous said...

We have a lot of Computer Science at universities all over Mississippi who could take part in helping to build a functional distance learning. Do it with Linux, bootable flash media, and cheap single board computers.

Distribute bootable USB flashdrives with a custom linux build for streaming video, conderencing, to every student with a PC/Mac and broadband internet.

For the impoverished kids give them a $50 Raspberry Pi preinstalled with the same custom linux to connect to their HDTVs. We all know everyone has an HDTV these days. And Cspire can provide a wifi hotspot to use with the Raspberry Pi.

No need tonspend $1 billion on laptops. And the kids can keep the Raspberry Pi device and continue to learn coding and robotics with that powerful sibgpe board computer.

You can still do the PBS TV thing but my recommendation can solve the problem of IT side of the problem. I doubt many in state government even know what bootable linux media or a Raspberry Pi is. But they could ask someone. Have they asked ITS? Have they asked anyone in the IT department at Jackson State University?

Anonymous said...

“ A simple fact: There will be no PBS PoPos, looking through your den window to see if you are using the proposed service. This will be offered to allow Mississippians to help teach Mississippians during a time when many kids will get left behind.
September 3, 2020 at 11:13 AM“


You really think putting school lessons on tv will make kids ready for the next grade? By that logic PBS/Sesame Street should have all kids ready for school as soon as they get to Kindergarten. But they aren’t. How gullible.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to add that has a lot of resources on using the Pi for education since that is what it was designed to be, an educational tool. Education is part of their mission as an organization.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is free to dislike whomever they want (provided it's a straight, white male, of course), but the idea isn't that bad. Plenty of families don't have good Internet access, but do have access to MPB. And it's optional -- use it or don't.

Just for $hits and giggles, I looked at what it would Gipson's idea would have replaced on MPB today:
8:00-8:30 - Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum
8:30-9:00 - Let's Go Luna!
9:00-9:30 - Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
9:30-10:00 - Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
10:00-10:30 - Sesame Street
10:30-11:00 - Pinkalicious & Peterrific
11:00-11:30 - Dinosaur Train
11:30-12:00 - The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That!
12:00-12:30 - Sesame Street
12:30-1:00 - Pinkalicious & Peterrific

I get that the guy is a dumbass, but the idea isn't a bad one.

Anonymous said...

I remember some years ago watching a sweet lady teach higher level math on PBS late at night. She was actually quite good. Even though I knew the subject matter, I would watch because she her teaching style was relatively easy to follow and she was engaging. Besides putting lessons on tv, the same things can be done on DVD and flash drives as a previous poster stated. Almost everyone has access to a $30 DVD player, if not a computer able to play a simple video. These items could definitely be a supplement. Hell, some parents may even find themselves learning a thing or two.

Anonymous said...

This ought to work out well, we aint got long....

Anonymous said...

He makes one good point -- that we need broadband infrastructure in rural Mississippi. More than anything we need it for access to healthcare which is so lacking in rural MS. Tele-medicine is here and it is efficient and saves money and has the potential to provide good access to healthcare for those in rural areas. Broadband infrastructure in rural MS would also be good for access to education and for people to just be connected to the rest of the world as most of us are. No doubt about it, development of that infrastructure in rural MS should be a priority for our State.
Everything else he proposes is lunacy. Teach kids to watch more TV??!! Kids need to be IN the classroom AT the school, and on the playground mixing it up with others, playing sports, band, drill team, school plays, etc., saying the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the Star Bangled Banner. Neither the kids nor their teachers are getting sick from Covid -- they belong in school.

Anonymous said...

11:47 AM wrote, "We all know everyone has..."

The minute statements like this start getting tossed around, I know not everyone knows what they are talking about (and that is part of why Gipson's plan isn't a universal solution). Note that I've made no claims as to what everyone else may or may not know or have. But even if "we" gave "everyone" a Raspberry Pi or a top-of-the-line workstation, that doesn't mean everyone will understand how to use it, try to understand how to use it, or use it. And that still doesn't solve the lack of online access due to geographic and/or economic reasons facing some people. True, you could subsidize those lacking for economic reasons, but geographic restrictions are not going to be solved in the next few weeks or months.

Again, the reverend's idea isn't a bad one - it doesn't reflect the complete situation of the real world and its inhabitants. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be offered to those who can and will utilize what is offered simply because some can't or won't utilize it.

Anonymous said...

I was a kid when MPB went on the air in 1969 or 1970.
Back then It was then called Mississippi ETV ( Mississippi Educational Television).

One of the first educational shows was some creepy guy that changed his shoes every thirty minutes, talked to his his goldfish . . . and played with cat puppets while telling us kids he wanted to be our neighbor because we were all "special" . . . and then he wanted us to ride his magical trolley to a "make believe" neighborhood.

That was damned educational !

I avoided men like him from that day forward.

Anonymous said...

@11:47 - you just about had me going until that last sentence. Was that just thrown in to see if we were paying attention? You cant be serious.

Anonymous said...

How many of you critics of this legitimate idea are educators? My bet is zero.

Anonymous said...


I'm not 11:47, but you would be surprised at the number of talented people at JSU. Sure you have to wade through some riff-raff, but they are there. They will eventually leave the state for better opportunities like most other people who realize their worth and are not tied down by family.

Anonymous said...

Hodge Podge Lodge was a cool little show during that era.

I think it came on after the original ZOOM.

Anonymous said...

government sponsored educational tv that’s mandatory? commie idea. brainwash the masses and take away school choice, homeschool or private school options. just like when he said consumers should buy milk. sorry, comrade, capitalism says we choose what to purchase not be told by some big brother government.

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