In the NEWS

OUR OPINION: Initiative 42 isn’t about power but about enabling


Mississippians on Wednesday received a powerful lesson about education funding adequacy and our state’s constitution, which does not specifically quantify responsibilities for public schools.


That is a weakness at the core of governance and works against real education adequacy, which in turn penalizes children because schools cannot offer all the knowledge advantages necessary in the 21st century.


The consequence falls directly on children whose opportunities for learning to help them keep up with the rest of the world are short-changed because adults in the Legislature and the governor’s office have wiggled around the language of existing law to more fully empower their own grasp ofstate revenues.


By Paul Boger

Some national education reform advocates are joining the fight to pass a school funding amendment in Mississippi. The supporters of Initiative 42 say the proposal is in the best interest of Mississippi's school children.


Public education advocates have been furiously campaigning across the state in an effort to bolster support for a school funding amendment known as Initiative 42. The proposal, which will appear on the November ballot, would, in theory, force lawmakers to fully fund the state's school system by allowing residents to sue if schools are short-funded. 

Expert: 42 needed to put state in mainstream


By Bobby Harrison


JACKSON – Mississippi is the only state that does not specifically quantify its responsibilities to public education in its Constitution, according to a national attorney specializing in school funding issues.

David Sciarra, executive director of the New Jersey-based Education Law Center, said Wednesday that is why it is essential for Mississippians to pass the citizen-sponsored Initiative 42. The initiative, as well as a legislative alternative, will be on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.


Sciarra, whose organization has been involved in school funding lawsuits on behalf of children, says the Mississippi Constitution is the only one of the 50 state constitutions that simply says the Legislature shall maintain a system of public education “upon such conditions and limitations” that the Legislature might prescribe. He said adding the language that the state shall have an “adequate and efficient” public education system will help ensure a system that is properly funded.

Education is the singular issue for this election
By David Hampton

Candidates running for state office are talking about a lot of different things, but in this election year there is really only one issue to consider  — education.


I have always avoided single-issue voting. Politics is an exercise in compromise and a politician should be judged on the whole. But this year, education is the only essential issue in Mississippi. All other considerations are secondary. Those seeking election in 2015 should know that and voters should insist that they know that.

Community input vital to HPSD strategic plan
By Ellen Ciurczak

Hattiesburg resident Dan Kibodeaux was happy to see all sorts of people gathered last week at Jackie Dole Sherrill Community Center for the first meeting called to craft a new strategic plan for Hattiesburg Public School District.

"I was pleased to see folks from William Carey, USM and community folks and the ADP and the NAACP," Kibodeaux said. "The schools can't do it alone. It takes the community to get the kids ready to succeed." The district's board of trustees contracted last month with P3 Strategies, LLC, a Jackson consulting firm, to develop recommendations for the plan. President Pam Shaw said community participation is a key component of the strategic planning process. "The voices of all members of the community are important in this strategic planning process to ensure consensus and buy-in in the future direction of the district," she said. "The model is to have lots of community participation."


11 Ways to Make Data Analytics Work for K-12
By Irving Hamer

The drive to close achievement gaps and eliminate chronic low performance has become a quest for the K-12 Holy Grail. We know what we are looking for and why, and see clues to success everywhere. In public education, the promise of data-informed decisions that drive instruction, improve student and school performance, and close achievement gaps appears limitless. But schools, districts, and most K-12 leadership teams are not close to realizing the kinds of data-driven benefits that already exist in fields like financial services, medicine, and science.


What’s the alternative for Mississippi education?

By David Hampton


What is the alternative?
State lawmakers may think that will be the question voters will be asking about the language in a proposed constitutional amendment on education funding. But voters may be asking that question in a different manner. Just what is the alternative to adequately funding education?
The Mississippi House and Senate, in a move that was obviously choreographed to be pushed through quickly to avoid close public attention, voted to offer “alternative” language to a proposed constitutional amendment that would force the state to adequately fund public education. It was approved in a vote largely along party lines with 94 legislators voting for the “alternative.” 

Pamela Shaw: Bettering lives for under-served children

By Dustin Cardon Wednesday | February 11, 2015 | Jackson Free Press


Pamela Shaw wants to come up with new solutions to old problems. As a senior manager, entrepreneur and public-policy analyst, Shaw is the seasoned and outspoken president and founder of P3 Strategies, a company that specializes in government relations, lobbying, management consulting and other services.


Shaw, who began P3 Strategies in 2012, has more than 20 years of experience in health, education and management training. She also works on behalf of children, families and service providers in vulnerable communities.


"I do what I do because I believe in bettering lives for under-served children in society," says Shaw, who presented at TEDx Jackson.