Jackie Mader
Jackie Mader writes for The Hechinger Report. She received a bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University and an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she was a recipient of the 2012 Fred M. Hechinger Journalism Education Award. Prior to attending Columbia, she taught special education in Charlotte, N.C. and trained first-year teachers in the Mississippi Delta.

Students from rural areas less likely to go to four-year colleges, top universities

Students in rural counties are less likely to attend college, and those who do are less likely to choose a four-year, private, or highly selective institution, according to a recent report.

Can voters force Mississippi to cough up cash and fund schools?

JACKSON, Miss. – Year after year, school officials in this poor and largely rural state say they scramble to stock classrooms with basic supplies like textbooks and pencils. They seek donations from outside groups and wonder if they’ll ever have enough money to hire coaches and classroom assistants. Now, a newly formed group is taking a fresh […]

Report: Both black and white children lag in Mississippi

When it comes to education, health, and economic opportunity, both white and black children in Mississippi are worse off than their peers in nearly every other state, a report and rankings released Tuesday found. White children in Mississippi ranked below all states except for West Virginia, while black children in the Magnolia state ranked below […]

Are state takeovers fixing Mississippi’s failing districts?

HAZLEHURST, Miss. — When the state took control of the Hazlehurst City school district in 2008, the small rural district was in chaos and suffering from abysmal academic performance. Student folders had gaps where grades and attendance records should have been. District personnel reports listed one employee as holding five different positions, including assistant superintendent, […]

Mississippi finally funds statewide pre-K — but only for six percent of its youngest learners

ABERDEEN, Miss.— In the 23 years that Jennifer Calvert has offered preschool for 4-year-olds in this rural town, she has never filled a classroom. Last year, just six students signed up, even though Calvert has room for 19 in her bright, spacious child care center. Calvert said that many families wanted their children in pre-kindergarten, […]

In rural Mississippi, a district copes with Common Core changes

Mississippi is one of the 45 states that has adopted the education standards known as Common Core. For the first time, students across the county will have the same education goals in math and English. In August, every teacher in Mississippi will teach Common Core. The Hechinger Report’s Jackie Mader visited rural Forrest County to […]

Selling Mountain Dew and other ways to improve access to technology in schools

Austin, TX. — When Erynn Petersen, a technology educator and advocate, wanted to prepare kids in rural parts of Washington state for technology and engineering jobs, she realized she needed to appeal to her audience. Compared to students in urban areas, many of the rural students she met had little access to technology, and no experience […]

In rural Florida, Common Core brings big changes to classrooms

This story is the first of a six-part series looking at how schools are preparing for the Common Core State Standards in Florida. It was produced in partnership with StateImpact Florida, a reporting project of NPR member stations. Florida is one of the 45 states that’s adopted the education standards known as Common Core. The […]

Mississippi sees improvement in AP scores, but still last in the nation

More low-income and black students in Mississippi are passing college-level Advanced Placement exams in high school although pass rates for students overall remain low and stagnant, according to a report released Wednesday. The College Board’s 10th annual Report to the Nation examines trends in participation and performance on Advanced Placement (AP) exams across the country. […]

For special education students, diplomas, jobs increasingly elusive

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Four weeks into a medical assistant program at Antonelli College, Nikki Mclendon eagerly took her parents to the college’s student appreciation day. The 20-year-old looked forward to discussing her progress and pre-registering for the next term, but instead received devastating news. School officials told the Mclendons their daughter was ineligible to continue. […]

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