Jackson Public Schools officials will get a chance to plead their case for keeping state accreditation. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how the school system has failed to meet special education standards for more than a year, and state education officials are taking action.

" /> Jackson Public Schools Could Lose Accreditation | News | Mississippi Public Broadcasting
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Jackson Public Schools Could Lose Accreditation

By Daniel Cherry | Published 12 Mar 2012 05:22pm | comments

Jackson Public Schools officials will get a chance to plead their case for keeping state accreditation. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how the school system has failed to meet special education standards for more than a year, and state education officials are taking action.

Mississippi's Commission on School Accreditation set a hearing yesterday after reviewing information about systemic violations of special education standards by Jackson Public Schools. District 2 Accreditation commissioner, Blake Wilson, says officials with JPS have to show improvements or the state's approval could be yanked from the district.

"Look. We've got to get really serious about this. It's not just a 'La-di-da' type of approach. This is a formal step in the process. That's the way government works, it's step by step by step."

Jackson Schools are already on probation, the step before losing accreditation. One punishment for losing accreditation is imposing sanctions on extracurricular activities like sports programs in failing schools. Sarah Campbell has 3 children in Jackson Schools, and she thinks that policy is aimed at the wrong target.

"It's not something that children have any control over. So to me you're punishing kids for something that's not being done in a central office, and I don't understand how that can possibly be sound educational policy."

Accreditation officials say JPS has slowly been making changes, and that's a step in the right direction. Dr. Lee Childress is a District 2 Accreditation commissioner. He says as long as JPS is making progress he'll remain optimistic.

"Those are both state and federal standards that schools have to be in compliance with. I think if they will work with the office of special education here in the department to resolve those issues then things could work out for them."

Jackson Public Schools is the 2nd largest district in the state. If the commission removes their accreditation after the April 26th hearing, it would be a first for any K-12 school in Mississippi.

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