EPISODE 5
Finding the Third Way

Preventing the Takeover of Jackson Public Schools in Mississippi

About This Episode

In late 2017, Mississippi’s capital school district, Jackson Public Schools (JPS), was at risk of being taken over by the state. As the second largest school district in the state, the prospect of JPS being absorbed into the state’s Achievement School District was concerning for the community, City, and State, especially considering Jackson’s fraught racial history with education. All sides sought alternatives, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation helped to find a third way, by advocating for and allocating $3 million to form the Better Together Commission (BTC) – a community centric approach to school improvement. This podcast examines how JPS was almost taken over, what that meant in the context of JPS’s past, and highlights the role of the community, W.K. Kellogg and the other stakeholders in the BTC. 

Yumeka Rushing
is the Chief Strategy Officer for the NAACP and is a former W.K. Kellogg Foundation Program Officer. She helped spearhead the creation of the BTC.

Michelle Henry
is a proud parent of four JPS students who is actively involved with the P-16 community engagement committee and the local PTA.

To learn more about the threat of the Jackson Public School (JPS) Takeover, visit:
https://www.jacksonfreepress.com/jpstakeover/

To learn more about the Better Together Commission, visit:
https://bettertogether.formississippi.org/

To learn more about the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s work in Mississippi, visit:
https://www.wkkf.org/what-we-do/where-we-work?#mississippi

To learn more about the historical inequities JPS schools (and public education in general) has faced, visit:
https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/politics/2019/02/22/public-education-ms-underfunded-centuries-brown-v-board-of-education-segregation-school-funding/2910282002/

Deeneaus Polk

is a Master’s in Public Policy candidate and hails from the great state of Mississippi who is focused on education and workforce development at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Katie Stenclik

is a Master’s in Public Policy candidate focused on social and urban policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Phoenix McLaughlin

is a Master’s in Public Policy candidate focused on rural economic development at the Harvard Kennedy School.