Jackson parents flee failing school district for higher-rated ones nearby

Sep 17, 2016 by

By Steve Wilson –

Graph by Steve Wilson

Graph by Steve Wilson

FALLING: Since 2005, according to data from the Mississippi Department of Education, enrollment in the Jackson Public Schools district has fallen 13.5 percent.

Parents of Jackson Public School District students are “voting with their feet” and leaving the D-rated district in large numbers for higher-rated suburban districts, according to a data analysis by Mississippi Watchdog.

Since 2005, the JPS has lost 13.5 percent of its students. The beneficiaries have been the four suburban school districts that surround it: the Madison and Rankin County districts and the city districts of Clinton and Pearl.

Related: Enrollment data in the JPS and other metro area school districts

Rankin County and the separate Pearl school district border Jackson to the east on the Pearl River, while Madison is north of Jackson and Clinton is located to the west.

There are also 465 JPS students attending the three charter schools in Jackson, which are managed by the individual non-profits administering each school and supervised by the state’s charter school authorizer board.

JPS earned its second consecutive D grade from the Mississippi Department of Education in the annual accountability grades and was placed on probation by the MDE, while all of the surrounding districts scored much higher. Clinton, Rankin County and Madison County schools earned As and Pearl’s district scored a B.

Jackson Public Schools spend $9,360 per student. Clinton spends $9,514 per student, while Madison expenditures amounted to $9,115 per student, Pearl spends $8,965 and Rankin  $8,564.

Related: Jackson Public Schools put on probation by state

Migration trends bear out the out-migration from the area served by JPS.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Jackson metro area — which includes Rankin, Madison, Hinds, Simpson and Copiah counties — has grown 10.5 percent since 2005. However, most of that growth has been in Rankin (16.1 percent increase) and Madison (26.2 percent) counties. Hinds County has lost 2.9 percent of its population, while its county seat, Jackson, accounted for a large chunk of that figure with a 4.8 percent decrease since 2005.

Graph by Steve Wilson

Graph by Steve Wilson

INCREASE: The number of black students enrolled in Clinton and Madison schools have increased strongly, while Rankin and Pearl schools have a steady increase.

JPS is a majority black district — more than 97 percent of its enrollment is African American — and the four suburban districts have increased their percentage of black students during the 2004-2016 time period. Clinton and Pearl schools showed the biggest gains in percentage of total enrollment. Clinton’s black enrollment has increased from 41 percent in 2004 to 51 percent in 2016, while Pearl’s has gone from 26 percent in 2004 to 34 percent.

Madison County has gone from having 3,749 black students in 2004 to 5,104, a 36.4 percent increase. The number of black students enrolled in Rankin County has increased from 3,438 in 2004 to 4,303, an increase of more than 25 percent.

Related: Shrinking Jackson Public Schools district wants more money

Photo by Steve Wilson

Photo by Steve Wilson

PERCENTAGE: The number of black students at Clinton and Pearl schools, expressed in percentages of total enrollment, has increased dramatically since 2004.

All four of the suburban districts require extensive proof of residency, requiring a copy of a deed or a lease and a current copy of one of the parents’ utility bills, a license plate receipt or a car title. The city of Pearl has an ordinance that can hit district parents who falsify residency documents with up to a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.

Source: Jackson parents flee failing school district for higher-rated ones nearby – Watchdog.org

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