By Monica Land | Clarion-Ledeger | April 18, 2015
|Vaiden has 42 acres of prime real estate ready for an industry, Mayor Mel Hawthorne said. The land is now being used as a nature trail.
(Photo: Monica Land/Special to The Clarion-Ledger)
The economic climate in the small town of Vaiden, in Carroll County, is not unlike every other poor municipality within the state. Deserted houses and abandoned buildings litter what would otherwise be a breathtaking landscape. But what compounds the tragedy in Vaiden is that both its elementary and high schools stand empty — a constant reminder of a once thriving past. And a clear indication of its future. A future devoid of expansion and hope.
The Mississippi Development Authority and other business analysts agree the state has made strides in recruiting new and foreign industries, working with existing companies on expansion and adding 17,000 new jobs to the region.
Still, a lacking educational system has been detrimental in attracting new industry.
"They killed our future when they closed our schools," said Vaiden Mayor Mel Hawthorne. "I talked to a man about franchising a Subway here and when he asked how many schools we had, and I said none, his whole facial expression changed."
Hawthorne speaks to one of the biggest problems Mississippi has in attracting future industry. Education. Or more accurately, the lack of it. Please click to continue reading.
Judge rules in favor of Oxford mom's ed initiative lawsuit
By Kate Royals | Clarion-Ledger | April 2, 2015
A judge ruled in favor of the Oxford mother who filed a lawsuit against the legislature's alternative to the Initiative 42 ballot measure, a citizen-sponsored education funding initiative that seeks to mandate the legislature fully fund public schools. Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Winston L. Kidd denied the motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by attorney Michael Wallace on behalf of the legislature.
After hearing arguments from several attorneys, Kidd also ruled that the ballot title as it stands now is not in accordance with Mississippi law requiring that the ballot language may not "intentionally be an argument, nor likely to create prejudice, either for or against the measure."
"It's not this court's role to be involved in the politics of this particular ballot measure," Kidd said at the conclusion of Thursday's hearing. "But the court does have the role and the responsibility as proposed by the Attorney General's office is not in accordance with Mississippi law."
"The ballot title will be changed and altered by this court."
Critics of the legislature's alternative say the language is intended to confuse voters, who will be faced with two choices on the November ballot. Click here to continue reading.
Judge rules against Legislature on citizen initiative suit
By Bobby Harrison | Daily Journal | April 3, 2015
JACKSON – A Hinds County circuit judge ruled on Thursday that the Attorney General’s Office must change the wording of an alternative the Mississippi Legislature passed to the citizen-sponsored initiative designed to enhance the state’s commitment to the funding of public education.
Judge Winston Kidd ruled in favor of Adrian Shipman, a mother of two in the Oxford Public Schools, that the legislature’s alternative language was too confusing and too similar to the original citizen’s initiative language. Kidd has ordered that language to be changed. The new alternative language, which was not immediately available, would follow a suggestion offered by Better Schools, Better Jobs, the group that worked to put the initiative on the ballot for this November.
The grassroots Better Schools, Better Jobs group worked last year to garner nearly 200,000 signatures to place on the ballot a proposal to amend the state Constitution to enhance the responsibility to fully fund education. Education has been underfunded more than $1.5 billion since 2008 and the budget proposal passed earlier this session by the Legislature would leave education underfunded an additional $200 million for the next school year. Click to continue reading!
An Open Letter to Our Teachers
By R.L. Nave | Jackson Free Press | April 1, 2015
I was in remedial kindergarten. Every day after my regular kindergarten class, which ended around lunchtime, Mrs. Waterston sent me and some other kids to an adjoining classroom for 5-year-olds who needed a little extra learning help.
It was fun. That teacher—I think her name was Ms. Pearson—introduced me to zucchini. She also brought me books because I was the only kid in the class who could already read. I vaguely remember Ms. Pearson meeting with my mother one day and telling her that I didn't need to be in the class because I was so smart. I don't recall the resolution of that meeting except that I remained in the half-day class, so Ms. Pearson always brought me—and only me—books to read, presumably to keep me motivated, including one that used characters from the PBS show "The Letter People." At the time, the olive-green and black book seemed to be the size and heft of a phone book, but it was one of my most cherished possessions then.
When I hear people talk about the state of public education and the need to purge bad teachers, it's such a foreign concept to me. I don't doubt for a second that there are bad teachers who just show up to collect a paycheck, but I can't recall ever having a teacher who I didn't believe cared deeply for all their students. Click here to continue reading.
Mississippi state-wide spelling bee winner
March 17, 2015
MAE's 2015 Spelling Bee winner Dev Jaiswal
with his mother (right) and sister (left).
Click below to listen to the MPB interview!
Effort to Fully Fund Public Education in Mississippi Gaining Ground
By Mike Lacy | WLOX- TV 13, Biloxi | March 12, 2015
Click here to like FED UP with 50th!
|Read Across America
tour stops in Meridian
Special to the Star | Meridian Star | March 7, 2015
|Read Across America
MAE President Joyce Helmick makes a quick stop by Meridian
Mayor Percy Bland's office on her Read Across America promotion tour throughout the state.
Click here to read the article!
Click below to
Educators School Mississippi Leaders
By Joyce Helmick, President of the Mississippi Association of Educators (MAE)
|Joyce Helmick, President
Mississippi Association of Educators
As a grandparent, an educator for 37 years in Mississippi classrooms, and the president of the Mississippi Association of Educators, I was deeply disappointed by the hurtful statements that some elected leaders stated in a recent Clarion Ledger article.
As educators, we are deeply committed to the success of every student. Students are at the center of everything we do. If we're serious about every child's future, let's get serious about doing what works. This means providing our public schools with necessary resources from books and computers to teachers and assistant teachers.
Educators have been clear on what our students need. Yet, Mississippi's leaders continue to fail our students. Good education inspires students' natural curiosity, imagination, and desire to learn. Allow me to school some of our leaders (again) on what we need to create great public schools for all of Mississippi's students. Click to continue reading.