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Monday, November 29, 2010

Now that sounds like a good idea


Sunday night while poking around on the internet, I found gold.
Okay, maybe not gold – but it sure did feel like it once I finished reading the article. It was one of the rare times that I didn’t feel like I had lost three minutes of my life reading something tampered with PR quotes and useless jargon.
The article – published in Tupelo’s Daily Journal – talked about seven Mississippi school districts who would be attending a presentation Tuesday in Jackson by the Department of Education regarding a program which would give high school students several options following their sophomore year.
Students who participated in the program would be tested following their tenth grade year, and with a passing score would be given several options. According to the article, the options include:

* Graduate from high school and enter a community college.
* Graduate from high school and enter the work force.
* Opt for a dual enrollment, taking some high school courses and some for-credit community college courses.
* Enroll in the upper-division program, which would prepare them for four-year college institutions.

The seven school districts invited to Tuesday’s presentation are Clarksdale, Canton, Gulfport, Madison County, Tupelo, Corinth and Jackson. Mississippi is one of 10 states who have expressed interest in the program. No Mississippi school district has committed to the program as of yet.
I have to give kudos to Mississippi education officials who took the initiative to at least glance at such an appealing offer. Recent numbers show that only 71 percent of students in Mississippi graduated in 2009.
Something else I read recently struck a chord with me – “Students don’t drop out in the 12th grade; they mentally drop out in the ninth.”
So here’s my suggestion: let’s go with it. For as long as I can remember, the education system has been the equivalent of baseball. It has shunned change, and as a result has fallen behind today’s advancements. And as a result, kids are leaving school at a record pace.
Today’s 16-year-olds know that regurgitating Shakespeare poems and the Pythagorean theorem won’t grant them success in today’s ever-changing society. Learning mechanical skills, how to start a business or taking college-level courses early, however, will.
Instead of pushing students out of the classroom and into the streets by offering only a one-course educational meal, this program should produce quality tax-paying citizens who are geared to take life head-on.
Because like it or not, 99 percent of the students in that English Literature class right now are either texting, reading a text message, or dozing off.
I frequently hear that small businesses are the savior for our economy. Who’s more likely to start a small business: someone who can recite the Preamble or the student that graduated after 10th grade and went to barber school?
Today’s K-12 system does a thorough job of preparing students for an annual state test, but a lackluster job of prepping them in one key area – life.
Because poetry may feel like a student’s “calling,” but even Shakespeare got hungry. And an education that isn’t useful outside of a classroom’s four walls doesn’t benefit anyone – especially the student.
For too long the education system has failed students. This new program is the perfect way to make amends. It will create a flock of life-ready citizens, instead of a pack of unemployed test-takers.
State tests come and go once a year. Life happens every day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Q&A with Playa Fly

The legend that brought us “Situations,” “Ghetto Eyes,” and everybody’s favorite “Nobody Needs Nobody” is back. And he’s back to prove a point.
In a phone interview earlier today, the proclaimed King of Memphis talked about his new mixtape, “King of all Kings,” and what’s next in line.
Before the South was flooded with – as Fly calls them “bubble gum rappers” – Ibn Young dominated the airwaves. And he says he’s working his way back to the top.

But what does Fly think about the current state of hip-hop – southern hip-hop in general?
“Everything sucks…,” he said. “…It’s fabricated bullshit.”

Ok, well give us your top five Southern rappers of all time.
“Playa Fly, Playa Fly, Playa Fly, Playa Fly and Playa Fly.”

Well….ok. What are the chances we’ll see Fly with a major label?
“We want to deal with a major label,” he said. “We have great music. We’re on an independent grind. We need Playa Fly in the mainstream – on every radio station and every television."

Are there any mainstream artists you want to work with?
"Yeah, The Dream. We're both aliens. I’m sure we’ll (make) some kind of moon music to give ya'll."

So who are some real artists that are out now?
"You know who they are....T.I., Jay-Z, Emimen...

Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would change?
"You can always look back in retrospect, but all in all, I’m thankful for my blessings...Taking away the bad parts would effect the good parts."

Playa Fly will be performing Saturday (Oct. 9) at LP's Ball Park in Como during a car and bike show. Gates open at 2 p.m.

Playa Fly: He's back

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