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Rev. Jesse Jackson Fires Up JPS Staff

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 07 Aug 2012 03:36pm | comments
Rev. Jesse Jackson

Teachers in Mississippi's largest urban school district are being asked to make bold changes this school year. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reportson the challenge issued by a renowned civil rights leader.

"None other than the Reverend Jesse Jackson!"

An enthusiastic crowd of 4-thousand Jackson Public School employees’ claps and cheers as civil rights icon Jesse Jackson takes the stage at Jackson state university.

Jackson spoke to the crowd Tuesday often using call and response to energize the staff ahead of the start of the school year.

"I am somebody. I can teach. I will teach. I must teach. My students can learn. Will learn. Must learn." Jesse said as the crowd echoed him.

Some 30-thousand students attend Jackson Public schools.

Jackson's message is important because the district ranks as academic watch.

But it was not just teachers that Jackson focused on.

He told the teachers to enter into a '6-point joint venture' with parents. This includes parents taking their kids to school andmeeting and exchanging phone numberswith teachers.

"Number four; turn the TV off three hours a night. Number five; pick up the child's report card every nine weeks. Number six; take your child to church, temple or synagogue once a week. Education is bedroom up, not boardroom down," Jackson said.

98-percent of students in Jackson Public Schools are black and more than 80-percent live below the poverty line.

Jackson spoke at the request of the new JPS superintendent Cedrick Gray who took over the district July first and is trying to set a new tone for the troubled school district.

"Shouts of peril become shouts of praise when we decide that we are going to join hands with one another black and white, old and young, new and veteran and decide we are going to work together for our children," Gray declared.

Jackson public school students begin the school year Friday.



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