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The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus Introduces New Policy Goal

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 14 Feb 2011 01:43pm | comments
Omeria Scott (left) and Willie Simmons (right) prepare their presentation

The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus introduces a new initiative for this legislative session. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that the proposed program is intended to help students Mississippi's worst performing schools.

By focusing on the worst performing schools in the state, the 6 districts that are currently in state conservatorship and two others, leaders with the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus think they can find and help the most 'at risk' students and families.

Senator Willie Simmons of Cleveland says the Motivating Parents and Children program will concentrate state services and help those families break the cycle of poverty.

"When you look at their families, their kids are more and more likely to go to jail, their kids are more likely to end up with drug problems. It just goes on and on, one statistic after another. Those families are considered to be at risk because they don't seem to be able to break the cycle of poverty and break the cycle of being dependent on the system," Simmons said.

The program would also feature small business assistance to help minorities start and grow businesses in their own communities.

Representative Omeria Scott of Laurel says the programs already exist in various state agencies; it is now a matter of coordinating and concentrating them.

"We don't know if this program is going to be the do all and end all, but we do know that everything the state of Mississippi has done so far has not worked. Even to taking over school districts. Even when the state takes over these school districts there has not been any change," Scott said.

The MPAC program would cost two-million dollars to set up the frame work and hire case managers.

Representative George Flaggs of Vicksburg says the close knit nature of the black community brings these human issues to the top of their agenda.

"That's because we have a relationship with the community and with mankind and those things that improve the quality of life for mankind. And that's the reason why they coincide so much," Flaggs said.

In the long run, these legislators argue that spending the money now could save the state money by alleviating the conditions that contribute to state dependency and crime.

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Omeria Scott (left) and Willie Simmons (right) prepare their presentation


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