Saturday, January 18, 2020
Public Education Essay
A free public education is one of the many aspects of American culture that makes it one of the most desirable countries in which to live.Ã In fact, education in America has been a standard duty of the government, particularly the states, since public schools were begun in the days of the pilgrims and pioneers.Ã Unfortunately, as the years progressed, education became more complex and more rigidly structured. Conversely, achievement seemed to lag behind the acceptable level.Ã Therefore, learning for learningÃ¢â¬â¢s sake was replaced by the trend towards higher and higher standardized test scores.Ã BushÃ¢â¬â¢s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandate pushed schools and teachers into greater accountability processes.Ã Schools created scripted curriculum guides that left little room for creativity.Ã The competitive march towards the highest scale score was on! Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Unfortunately, to the school systems, its employees and its students, failure to march properly carried stiff penalties.Ã Schools faced a variety of sanctions if scores did not rise to the appropriate level or at the appropriate rate.Ã First, schools faced state or even federal intervention. Evaluative and prescriptive teams would enter the schools to mandate changes in policy, curriculum and even staffing.Ã Another obstacle was parental choice.Ã For the wealthier, private schools have been an alternative to lagging public schools for years, but in the early 1990s, the school voucher plan made this option viable to a wider spectrum of families.Ã Ultimately, the voucher propositions never passed the state legislatures (Pipho, 1994). A few years later, charter schools developed outside the sphere of both public and private schools.Ã These charter schools developed as a way to reform schools and received funds from private organizations and business.Ã The idea took off even though researchers are quick to note that charter schools have done little to raise test scores (Vine, 1997) Ã Lastly, the idea of merit pay directly appealed to the pocketbooks of teachers and administrators by offering monetary reward for good scores.Ã While observers feel it is wrong to base a teacherÃ¢â¬â¢s pay just on his test scores, researchers feel that Ã¢â¬Å"because the amounts involved are relatively small, itÃ¢â¬â¢s worth experimentingÃ¢â¬ ¦Ã¢â¬ (Keller, 2006).Ã Each of these new options moved American education closer and closer to the idea of privatizing schools. Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã The privatization of schools has now expanded to include the realm of educational consulting.Ã These high-paid individuals are hired by the school systems to aid individual schools in planning strategies for curriculum, classroom management, discipline, finance, and teacher recruiting, to name a few (Sheffer, 2002).Ã In 1994, the Minneapolis school system became the first to hire a consulting firm to run their district.Ã In California, the state superintendent of public instruction was a man who had a background in business as a consultant who helps financially ailing corporations (Pipho, 1994). In 1997, Phyllis Vine reported that twenty-eight states had passed legislation to provide for the hiring of management companies.Ã In the last nine years that number has grown, with both positive and negative reactions from the customers.Ã Teachers complained that the new curriculum was too restrictive and gave them no freedom to teach what they wanted.Ã The consultant responded by asserting that restrictiveness was needed to get the teachers, kids and schools back on track (Hayden, 2005). Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã The decision to link private business to school systems does make sense for some.Ã Sheffer notes that Ã¢â¬Å"the obvious similarities between academic work and consulting are the emphasis on analytic thinking, writing and the focus on researchÃ¢â¬ (2002) Thus, more and more states are turning to educational consulting firms to help them refocus on their educational goals.Ã On such state is Mississippi.Ã Mississippi, as a state, has typically been at the bottom of lists comparing statesÃ¢â¬â¢ educational achievements.Ã In the 2005 Smartest State rankings published by Morgan Quitno Press, Mississippi fell two spots from the previous year to 49thÃ (Ã¢â¬Å"Vermont,2005Ã¢â¬ ). Spencer, (2004), attempts to explain the stateÃ¢â¬â¢s low achievement and scores by pointing to the socioeconomic and achievement gaps between white students and minority students.Ã Even in younger grades, the black and Hispanic subgroups lagged behind the white students in language and reading.Ã In middle school, the gap widened alarmingly.Ã Ninety-six of white students scored at proficiency or better in language, and 94% scored at this same level in reading. But Hispanic studentsÃ¢â¬â¢ numbers were 9 percentage points lower in both areas than whites, while black students were 8 points lower in language and 19 points lower in reading.Ã He goes on to note that the problem got progressively worse in the 1990s.Ã Overall, by high school, Ã¢â¬Å"only one in 50 Hispanic and black 17-year-olds can read and gain information from specialized text-such as the science section of a newspaper Ã¢â¬â compared to about one in 12 white studentsÃ¢â¬ (Spencer, 2004). Yet, when education officials like Randy McCoy, who is the Tupelo Superintendent, are confronted with these figures, they are quick to point out that students of all races do well and students of all races do not do well.Ã The fear seems to be that teachers will be accused of teaching students of different races differently.Ã Yet, Mike Walters, who is a former Tupelo Superintendent, agrees that the achievement gap is due to a difference in expectations. He points to the strongest teachers and notes that their students, regardless of race and socioeconomic status, achieve.Ã Walters offers, Ã¢â¬Å"We are not expecting students to achieve, and expectations are everythingÃ¢â¬ ( Spencer, 2004).Ã Ã The Tupelo district is about 65 % white with most students from lower income homes. Ã Its scores have held steady in the low 80% passing range with an odd surge into the mid 90s in 2003 (Ã¢â¬Å"Mississippi DOE Test DataÃ¢â¬ ).Ã JBHM has recently started working with the Tupelo Municipal schools. (Ã¢â¬Å"Experience,Ã¢â¬ n.d.). One way Mississippi is trying to combat their ailing system is by restructuring its testing program.Ã In September of 2000, the Mississippi Board of Education (MBOE) approved State Board Policy IHF-1.Ã IHF-1 changed the graduation requirements beginning with the freshman class entering in 2000.Ã Among the requirements was to pass the subject area test English II, generally administered in the 10th grade.Ã Thus, the first available scores for the class entering in 2000 were recorded in 2001 (Ã¢â¬Å"MBOE,Ã¢â¬ 2000).Ã This group was expected to graduate in 2004. Another way is by hiring a local educational consulting group to help them work with curriculum.Ã Former Tupelo Superintendent, Mike Walters is now a consultant with the JBHM Education Group in Jackson. Ã JBHM is a general consulting agency that also operates the JBHM Education Group, LLC. Ã This group was opened in 2000 as Ã¢â¬Å"an educational management services company with a mission of assisting school communities in their efforts to better organize themselves, and, in turn give the families the support needed to ensure the success of their childrenÃ¢â¬ (Ã¢â¬Å"Services,Ã¢â¬ n.d.).Ã According to the group, the consults go into the schools and analyze the areas of need as specified by the hiring body.Ã They then, if directed, design a curriculum fashioned after Robert MarzanoÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Å"viable curriculum,Ã¢â¬ one of his eleven factors of student achievement (Marzano, 2003) JBHMÃ¢â¬â¢s mission was developed by Mike Walters and cofounder Gary Bailey.Ã It is simply Ã¢â¬Å"to enhance a schoolÃ¢â¬â¢s ability to prepare children for successÃ¢â¬ (Vickers, 2005. p. 3).Ã JBHM has focused recently on developing curriculums for algebra, biology, English, United Sates history and middle school math.Ã Walters says, Ã¢â¬Å"These are highly-structured, full-blown plans that start with day one and go through the end of the school yearÃ¢â¬ (Vickers, 2005, p. 3) JBHM, as of their most recent website posting, serves 34 school districts in Mississippi.Ã The do work in other states, including their contract deal of March 2006 totaling 1.6 million dollars to work with the Caddo School District in Louisiana (Brumble, 2006).Ã They achieved this contract by boasting statistics that ninety percent of the schools they assisted showed a rise in test scores (Brumble, 2006).Ã Undoubtedly numerous Mississippi schools are on this list. According to the Mississippi Board of Education Agenda from September 10, 2004, a contract was approved with the JBHM Education Group to Ã¢â¬Å"assist in providing technical assistance to implement the school improvement process in Priority Schools (Ã¢â¬Å"MBOE,Ã¢â¬ 2004).Ã As explained in a news release dated December of 2004, Ã¢â¬Å"Schools that do not meet achievement goals or show expected academic improvement receive a ranking of Level I (Low Performing) with the lowest of these deemed Ã¢â¬ËPriority SchoolsÃ¢â¬â¢ Ã¢â¬ Ã (Ã¢â¬Å"Town MeetingsÃ¢â¬ ¦, 2004). Part of the new Board Policy IHF-1 makes passing the English II test required for graduation for the graduating class of 2004, who were first tested in 2000/2001 school year. These first scores were used for developing scale scores, according to the Mississippi Statewide Testing Program website. The English II test, which replaces the previous language and reading tests mentioned in earlier, has been consistently difficult for low achieving schools in Mississippi.Ã Betty Rose Breazeeale, the Lamar County testing coordinator, agreed by saying that she recognized the need to work on the English II, adding that Ã¢â¬Å"It is our lowest score, and I think thatÃ¢â¬â¢s a statewide problemÃ¢â¬ (Mees, 2005).Ã According to the Mississippi Department of Education Subject Area Content Test website, the English II test Ã measures knowledge of language conventions, reading comprehension and effective writing skillsÃ¢â¬ ¦The test consists of two separate administration:Ã English II Multiple Choice and English II WritingÃ¢â¬ ¦The 85 multiple-choice, passage-based items are divided into two sections:Ã Language Conventions and Reading Comprehension.Ã The writing test includes four writing prompts Ã¢â¬â two narrative mode prompts and two informative mode prompts.Ã Students will select and respond to one of the narrative prompts and one of the informative prompts. Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Even though the MBOE approved the contract for JBHM to consult in Priority Schools statewide in 2004, some districts had already contracted its services well before then.Ã These districts paid for the services themselves through grants or other local funding mechanisms.Ã The Tunica school board hired JBHM Education Group for the 2000/2001 school year (Hayden 2002).Ã The Hinds district is actually featured on the JBHM Education Group website, boasting its rise in scores from 2001 to 2003.Ã Others, like the North Bolivar and Neshoba joined the club as a result of the Priority School initiative administered by the MBOE. Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã All scores on the English II tests may be compared to the figures reported on the Mississippi Statewide Testing Program website administered by the MDOE.Ã They report figures for 2002 as 70% passing the multiple choice reading and 84% passing the narrative/informative writing test.Ã In 2003 these percentages rose to 78 and 94 respectively, and settled into 85% and 84% narrative/89% informative for 2004.Ã It should be noted that in 2004, the state began reporting the writing portion of the test as two separate scores, listing the narrative first, then the informative.Ã Analysis seems to indicate that scores dropped slightly when this shift took place with the greater drop being in the narrative score (Ã¢â¬Å"MDOE Test DataÃ¢â¬ ). One of the first schools to take advantage of the JBHM consultants, the Hinds AHS school is worthy of its spot on the JBHM website. Ã Hinds County School District is a fairly large district.Ã Hinds AHS is described as a rural, integrated school with an average to below-average socio-economic base (Ã¢â¬Å"Hinds AHS,Ã¢â¬ Ã 2006). Beginning with passing rates at only 18% on the English II multiple choice test and 40% on the writing portion when JBHM came aboard, they jumped to 22%Ã and 55% respectively in one year and, from there, to 77% and 92% respectively in the second year ( Ã¢â¬Å"MDOE Test DataÃ¢â¬ ) . For the county itself, which contains seventeen high schools in the area of Clinton,Ã Mississippi, the scores went from passing rates of 72% (reading) and 75% (writing) in 2001 to an 81% in reading and a an 83% in writing (Ã¢â¬Å"Mississippi Test DataÃ¢â¬ ).Ã In the JBHM-operated school (Hinds AHS), more remarkable gains were noted, while other high schools showed less of an improvement.Ã It is hard to deny Hind AHSÃ¢â¬â¢s phenomenal rises in English II scores.Ã They started out well below the rest of the county and ended up with a passing rate higher than the district average. The Tunica district, an even more rural, plantation area of Mississippi has a past that is Ã¢â¬Å"rooted in TunicaÃ¢â¬â¢s plantation lifestyle and its racial separatism. Tunica is a tiny white island in a majority black countyÃ¢â¬ (Parker, 2002). Ã Ã Rose Fort High school, associated with JBHM since the onset of the new testing requirements, is comprised of extremely poor black students with only 1 % white and 1% other racial students (Ã¢â¬Å"Rose Fort High,Ã¢â¬ 2006). Ã JBHM director Mike Walters recognizes how TunicaÃ¢â¬â¢s social issues are reflected in its education when he says, Ã¢â¬Å"Tunica is in a community-building stage right now.Ã They are divided racially still.Ã You canÃ¢â¬â¢t just dump money in a community like that and expect things to happen.Ã ItÃ¢â¬â¢s going to take a long, long time. (Hayden 2002).Ã Despite its circumstances, however, this single Tunica high school has also made some significant gains in English II scores.Ã The data was not recorded for 2001, but the 2002 scores of 33% passing on the multiple choice portion and the 57% passing on the writing portion jumped to 54% and 83% respectively in only one year (Ã¢â¬Å"MDOE Test DataÃ¢â¬ ).Ã Again, the advances are astounding. Lamar school district also serves a rural county.Ã It, like Tunica, far exceeds the state average of students on free and reduced lunch, which is generally the yardstick for measuring the socioeconomic population of a school.Ã Ã The only difference is that students in Lamar are predominantly white.Ã Ã Only one high school of the four reflects a more integrated population (Ã¢â¬Å"Lamar High Schools, Ã¢â¬ 2006). Ã Their English II scores have shown growth as well.Ã The reading and writing scores have risen from the 87 and 89 percent passing to highs of 92 and 95 percent passing in two years with an odd dip in the reading multiply choice scores in 2004. (Ã¢â¬Å"MDOE Test DataÃ¢â¬ ).Ã Even though Lamar began in a less desperate situation, its gains with the help of consultants are also significant.Ã Though the percentage gain seems less impressive, most educators realize that gains like this are harder to achieve as students scores improve and that each subsequent gain is definitely cause for celebration. Neshoba school district located in Philadelphia, Mississippi, is a more integrated district that has shown gains through the use of consulting.Ã Classified as a small town district, the students in NeshobaÃ¢â¬â¢s four high schools are more integrated than those in Lamar or Tunica . While more students than the state average qualify for free or reduced lunch, they are socioeconomically better off than Lamar or Tunica students (Ã¢â¬Å"Neshoba County,Ã¢â¬ 2006). Paid for by a NCLB grant, JBHM began consulting in Neshoba County for the current, 2005/2006, school year to aid primarily with English II and Algebra I in its high schools (Edwards, 2006). The countyÃ¢â¬â¢s English II scores in 2002 were 67% passing in reading and 76 % passing in writing.Ã The scores rose in 2003 to 85% and 89% respectively, but then in 2004 rose to an 89% in reading but fell to 86 % in writing (Ã¢â¬Å"MDOE Test DataÃ¢â¬ ).Ã Some schools fared worse than others. Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã The system hopes to post scores in the 90s with the consulting firm if the teacher can get on board.Ã Joey Blount, principal of Neshoba Central High School, admits to Edwards that the presence of the consultants and the frequent observations make his teachers nervous.Ã Ã¢â¬Å"Anytime youÃ¢â¬â¢ve got people coming to observe your work, itÃ¢â¬â¢s going to be an uncomfortable situationÃ¢â¬ (Edwards, 2006).Ã Superintendent for curriculum and instruction Beth Jackson concurs.Ã Ã¢â¬Å"Change can be very difficult for a lot of people, but in some areas we needed change.Ã We werenÃ¢â¬â¢t happy with our test scores.Ã I think they (the teachers) realize we needed to change, but some are better at it than others (Edwards, 2006). Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Likewise, the administrators in Moss Point and Meridian Schools are also impressed.Ã Tressie Harper, Moss Point Superintendent, is proud of the gains made in her studentsÃ¢â¬â¢ English II scores.Ã Moss Point has been working with JBHM since 2003 and in that time has noticed a steady increase in reading scores from 55% in 2002 to 60% in 2003 to 63% in 2004 (Vickers, 2005 and Ã¢â¬Å"MDOE Test DataÃ¢â¬ ) to 75% in 2005 (Ã¢â¬Å"Moss Point High School,Ã¢â¬ 2005). As in Neshoba and Lamar, the writing scores seemed the most erratic rising from 74% to 91% to 71% to 75% in the same four years (Ã¢â¬Å"MDOE Test DataÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"Moss Point High School,Ã¢â¬ 2005).Ã Perhaps this could be explained by the aforementioned change in the reporting of writing test scores in 2004.Ã It is possible that the focus of the test shifted slightly at that point as well. Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Likewise, the single Meridian high school shows similar improvement in English II with a three year rise in percentage passing scores from 2002 to 2004 from 57 to 74 to 77.Ã Ã The writing scores showed a similar rise (Ã¢â¬Å"MDOE Test DataÃ¢â¬ ).Ã Sylvia Autry, Meridian Public School Superintendent claims that she has worked with several educational consultants and that JBHM has been the Ã¢â¬Å"most focusedÃ¢â¬ (Vickers, 2005, p. 3).Ã Both Moss Point and Meridian are characterized by a slightly higher black than white student body with the majority on free and reduced lunch (Ã¢â¬Å"Moss Point High School, Ã¢â¬ 2006) Ã and Ã¢â¬Å"Meridian High SchoolÃ¢â¬ ). Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã North Bolivar is another recent addition to JBHMÃ¢â¬â¢s client list.Ã A year ago, the MBOE asked the Governor to deem the North Bolivar School District a state of emergency.Ã This designation is reserved for school districts that have over half of the schools meeting Priority School status.Ã State Superintendent Hand Bounds issued to investigations and concluded that the studentsÃ¢â¬â¢ needs were not being met (Ã¢â¬Å"Mississippi BoardÃ¢â¬ ¦,Ã¢â¬ 2005). North Bolivar is an exceptionally poor small town district which is 97% black.Ã Ã Its reading scores have barely reached 80% (Ã¢â¬Å"MDOE Test DataÃ¢â¬ ).Ã Score released in 2006 will tell whether or not JBHM will be successful there. Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Clearly JBHM consulting or any consulting agency is not necessary for all school districts.Ã Wealthier more urban areas such as Jackson and Laurel counties consistently post English II scores in the high 80s high 90s. Ã However, when one compares the multiple choice Ã scores of Hinds AHS (77% reading), whose population is significantly more challenging based on socioeconomic factors, to JacksonÃ¢â¬â¢s (85% reading) , the aforementioned achievement gap appears to be closing. The exact role that JBHM plays in this factor is undetermined since all factors cannot be factored in statistically.Ã For example, the threats of school closings and consolidations due to a lack of funds plague systems across the country as will as in Mississippi.Ã One mother in Lamar district commented about the dip in LamarÃ¢â¬â¢s 2004 reading scores; Ã¢â¬Å"They [the students and teachers)] went through so much with the school closingsÃ¢â¬ ¦Everybody here was upset. The teachers were upset. If it werenÃ¢â¬â¢t for that fear, the scores probably would have been just as good as last year Ã¢â¬ (Mees, 2005). In addition, the 2005 hurricane season devastate education in many parts of Mississippi. About 160,000 students in 271 public schools in 44 school districts in the path of the hurricane have been impacted, said Steve Williams, special assistant to the state superintendents. State Superintendent Bounds said that some schools were unable to have classes for 2-3 months.Ã Some schools were completely destroyed (Hayden, 2005). Ã Clearly this crisis would impact test scores at all levels. Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã One thing is clear.Ã Schools are in need of support services from somewhere.Ã Initial data seems to indicate that consulting firms, while not the perfect answer, do provide the structured support that some schools need.Ã Their exorbitant costs will be prohibitive for some school districts, but perhaps with grant programs, they may still benefit from their services.Ã As the first decade in 2000 pulls to a close, school reform will be steadily underway.Ã The extent of the change and the consultantÃ¢â¬â¢s role in it remain uncertain, but hopeful. References Brumble, Melody. (2006).Ã Ã¢â¬Å"Caddo School Board Debates Merits of Consulting Proposal.Ã¢â¬ Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã The Shreveport Times.Ã Retrieved March 29, 2006 from www.shreveporttimes.com/ Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Apps/pbcs.dll/article?Date=20060321&Category=NEWSÃ¢â¬ ¦. Edwards, Jeff.Ã (2006).Ã Ã¢â¬Å"Neshoba Schools Employ Consultant to Improve Scores.Ã¢â¬ Ã The Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Neshoba Democrat.Ã Retrieved March 28, 2006 from www.neshobademocrat.com/ Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã print.asp? ArticleID=12190&SectionID=2&Subsectional. Ã¢â¬Å"Experience.Ã¢â¬ Ã JBHM Education Group, LLC.Ã Retrieved on March 26, 2006, from Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã http://www.jbhm-edgroup.com/experience Hayden, Cathy. (2002). Ã¢â¬Å"Schools and More Money:Ã Plenty of lessons learned.Ã¢â¬ Ã The Clarion- Ledger. Retrieved on March 29, 2006, from http://orig.clarionledger.com/news/0210/14/m01.html. Hayden, Cathy.Ã (2005).Ã Ã¢â¬Å"Angry Parents Want Shelby Schools Chief Fired.Ã¢â¬ The Clarion-Ledger. 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Ã¢â¬Å"Moss Point High School.Ã¢â¬ (2005).Ã Great Schools.Net Retrieved March 28, 2006 from Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã http://www.greatschools.net/modperl/achievement/ms/649 Ã¢â¬Å"Moss Point High School.Ã¢â¬ (2006).Ã SchoolTree.Org.Ã Ã Retrieved March 30, 2006, from, Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã http://mississippi.schooltree.org/counties-page1.html Ã¢â¬Å"Neshoba County.Ã¢â¬ (2006).Ã SchoolTree.Org.Ã Ã Retrieved March 30, 2006, from, Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã http://mississippi.schooltree.org/counties-page1.html Parker, Laura.Ã (2002). Ã¢â¬Å"Abandoned Education:Ã TunicaÃ¢â¬â¢s schools struggle with leftovers and neglect.Ã¢â¬ Ã APF Reporter 18 (2).Ã Retrieved March 30, 2006 from www.aliciapatterson.org/APF1802.html Pipho, Chris. (1994). Ã¢â¬Å"Taxes, School Boards, and Higher Education.Ã¢â¬ Ã Phi Delta Kappan 75 (5), Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã 358-359. Ã¢â¬Å"Rose Fort High.Ã¢â¬ (2006). Ã SchoolTree.Org.Ã Ã Retrieved March 30, 2006, from, Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã http://mississippi.schooltree.org/counties-page1.html Sheffer, Hadass.Ã (2002).Ã Careers in Educational Counseling.Ã¢â¬ Ã The Chronicle of Higher Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Education.Ã Retrieved March 28, 2006, from http://chronicle.com/jobs/news/2002/06/ Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã 2002062801c/printable.html. Ã¢â¬Å"Services.Ã¢â¬ Ã JBHM Education Group, LLC.Ã Retrieved on March 26, 2006, from Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã http://www.jbhm-edgroup.com/services Spencer, Mack.Ã (2004).Ã Ã¢â¬Å"Achievement Gap.Ã¢â¬ Ã Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Retrieved March 30, 2006 from http://www.djournal.com/pages/story.asp?ID Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã =59381&pub=1. Ã¢â¬Å"Town Meetings Scheduled for Priority SchoolsÃ¢â¬ News Release. (2004). Mississippi State Board Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã of Education.Ã Jackson, MS:Ã Communications Dept. MBOE. Ã¢â¬Å"Vermont Named Smartest State.Ã¢â¬ (2005).Ã Results of the 2005 Smartest State Awards. Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Retrieved March 30, 2006, from http://www.morganquitno.com/edpress.htm Vickers, Harriet S. (2005) Ã¢â¬Å"Educational Consultant Business Sees Fast-Paced Growth: Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã¢â¬ËEmployees have bought into our mission,Ã¢â¬â¢ says JBHM Education Group president.Ã¢â¬ Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Mississippi Business Journal 27 (19), 3. Vine, Phyllis.Ã (1997).Ã Ã¢â¬Å"To Market, To MarketÃ¢â¬ ¦The School Business Sells Kids Short.Ã¢â¬ The Nation 265 (7), 11-16.