Mississippi News

Educators, community partners launch Raise Mississippi initiative

New Push and Partnerships Aim to Transform Public Schools and Boost State’s Economy

Credit: Mississippi Association of Educators news release

The Mississippi Association of Educators (MAE) and partner advocates have launched Raise Mississippi, a statewide initiative to improve the quality of life for every Mississippian by transforming the public schools that educate about 90 percent of the state’s children.  Raise Mississippi’s focus on public schools is a reflection of the key role they play in fostering economic growth and prosperity throughout the state, and, in turn, elevating the quality of life for all Mississippians.

“Creating and maintaining strong public schools is paramount to driving economic growth and prosperity throughout Mississippi,” said MAE President Erica Jones. “Our tagline says it all: we want to raise our children to be successful contributors and leaders, raise the standard of living for our families and educators, and raise Mississippi to become the economic powerhouse we know it can be.”

The central objective of Raise Mississippi is to fuel a groundswell of community support to achieve the following objectives:

Smart Funding for Public Schools: Smart funding ensures every student and every school gets what they need to succeed. Raise Mississippi supports public school funding that provides schools investments in updated technology, classroom materials, school support staff and facility improvements that have a direct impact on student engagement and outcomes to create the well-educated and competitive workforce Mississippi can depend on for decades to come.

Fair and Competitive Educator Compensation: Raise Mississippi aims to increase wages for school support staff such as food service workers, bus drivers, school custodians  who play a key role in educating our students. This will bolster local economies by creating good paying jobs and attracting qualified and caring individuals to work in our schools. This is especially beneficial to communities where public school districts are often the largest employers.  

A Commitment to Collaboration and Engagement: The first step in raising Mississippi’s public schools starts with engaging the community on the value of strengthening our public schools, what the vision looks like, and how it will benefit Mississippi’s economy and state as a whole. Raise Mississippi will call on parents, business owners, faith communities, and everyone who stands to benefit from strong public schools to partner with candidates, policy makers, and elected officials to advance public education funding and policy bills that will transform and elevate Mississippi’s public schools.

“We thank well-known Jackson businessman Leroy Walker, Rev. Sue Keen Hyland of Wells UMC, Oleta Garrett Fitzgerald of the Children’s Defense Fund, Attorney and public school father Graham Carner, and AFL-CIO Political Director Michael Hodges for offering their perspectives on the importance of this effort today,” said President Jones. “We look forward to working with them and the other individuals and organizations that were with us in this launch, and we are continually welcoming more individuals and groups to the initiative.”

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