Charter schools: Delta’s KIPP shines

In Coahoma County, the Coahoma County School District is rated as “failing” by the state. The Clarksdale Municipal School District is rated as “at risk of failing” along with the Coahoma County Agricultural High School.

Luckett, an unabashed booster of his city and county, points the finger as the schools in his community as evidence of the need for innovation and change in public education. That is something he promised to champion when he declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for governor of Mississippi in 2011.

As he talks, there’s a roll of “Luckett for Governor” stickers on the console of his car. The conversation with a reporter is broken by frequent cell phone calls and by frequent waves to friends – black and white – on the streets of Clarksdale.

“My biggest goal for the state is in terms of improving educational opportunities for all Mississippians,” Luckett said. “Unfortunately, Mississippi continues to rank 50th in terms of education or educational performance, and something’s got to change.”

To that end, Luckett and a large group of Coahoma County business and civic leaders took a bus trip across the Mississippi River to Helena, Ark., to tour the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) Delta Public Schools. It is one of the nation’s growing number of highly successful public-funded charter schools.

Sid Salter
Clarion Ledger