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Rep. Jay Hughes: “Achievement Gap” And What’s Up in Oxford School District?

1. FIRST, I am unequivocally opposed to separating / segregating any student in any public school based upon race, creed, color, religion, and, yes, socio-economic background.

2. What is an ACHIEVEMENT GAP? A persistent gap in education performance between two distinct groups of students, including race and socioeconomic status.

3. The OXFORD SCHOOL BOARD recognized it had the highest achievement gap between socioeconomic students in the state.

4. There is no dispute it takes additional FUNDING AND HUMAN RESOURCES to educate high-poverty students (and is even a component of the MAEP funding formula).

5. Continued underfunding of MAEP has lessened the ability of OSD and other school district to have the support and resources to help those in most need.

6. OSD was soliciting presentations from various school districts in other states that had out-of-the-box success in closing their own achievement gaps. The voluntary separate public school presentation from VA was one of four. However, it was and is a bad idea to do anything that even hints at segregation for any reason, or could result in a stigma on students.

7. The SILVER LINING to this unfortunate debate is that it has brought to the forefront and awareness that there is a definite achievement gap with Mississippi students (by income as well as race and region), and that continued underfunding is depriving all school boards to focus on their primary mission: Educate ALL students.

Jay HughesOxford lawyer Jay Hughes serves the 12th District in the Mississippi House of Representatives. He can be contacted at jayfordistrict12@gmail.com.

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