Former U.S. Secretary of Education speaks to JPS leaders - - Jackson, MS

Former U.S. Secretary of Education speaks to JPS leaders

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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - A local school district is getting advice from the former U.S. Secretary of Education.

Dr. Rod. Paige spoke to hundreds of leaders from the Jackson Public School District Monday morning.

His speech at Jackson State University's E-Center kicked off the district's week-long "Summer Leadership Institute," attended by leaders at every JPS school. 

Paige, a Mississippi native and former Jackson State football coach, spearheaded the "No Child Left Behind" act when he was Secretary of Education.

His message for JPS officials was, "When better is possible, good won't do."

"Last year I saw improvement. But that's not good enough. If you're doing good, but it's possible to do better, we've got to require you and expect you to do better," said Paige.

Paige advised JPS officials to "set very high standards, measure against those standards, and don't accept substandard performance."

JPS Superintendent Dr. Lonnie Edwards said the speech helped set the tone for the upcoming school year.

"During the course of the school year, whenever one of us, for whatever reason, might have sidebars or whatever, we can remember this day that we all heard, if we want to do better, we've got to do just a little bit more," said Edwards.

Dr. Paige said he's seen improvement in JPS over the last year, especially in terms of community outreach. Still, he said the district has a less than desirable reputation nationwide.

As Mississippi's largest urban school district, Edwards said the district is doing the best it can with its resources, and faces unique socioeconomic challenges. For example, he said it educates at least 1,400 students who are homeless.

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