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.

Teach For America’s soft-power education reform strategy

CLEVELAND, Miss. — Babak Mostaghimi never expected to settle down in the rural Mississippi Delta. A native of Virginia, he graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2006 with a high-paying job offer as a defense contractor at a consulting firm. On a whim, Mostaghimi also applied to Teach For America (TFA), a 24-year-old program that […]

Huge confusion in Mississippi over Common Core

It’s been called a federal curriculum, the end of literature lessons, and even, here in Mississippi, a “Muslim takeover of schools.” The Common Core, a set of math and English language arts standards that spells out what skills students are expected to master in kindergarten through twelfth grade, will be rolled out in every Mississippi […]

Florida counts down to new Common Core standards, exams

For the past year The Hechinger Report and StateImpact Florida have taken you into two schools to hear what preparations for Florida’s new Common Core-based standards sound like. The standards outline what students should know in math and language arts. When classes start this fall every grade in every Florida public school will use them. […]

In Mississippi schools, access to technology lacking, uneven

CLINTON, Miss.—When Kelsi Collins was first given a laptop last year at Clinton High School, she hesitated to change from years of reading textbooks and writing assignments by hand to researching topics and typing papers online. It didn’t help that, after she’d ignored teachers’ warnings to back up her work, her computer crashed and she […]

In Mississippi, food gap widens during summer

Each summer, millions of Mississippi’s children rely on the federal Summer Food Service Program to provide up to two nutritious meals a day. It’s a small solution to a larger problem in Mississippi, where many of the most rural parts of the state lack access to healthy foods. Jackie Mader reports on the challenges and […]

In Mississippi, summer program attempts to fill gap in civil rights education

PHILADELPHIA, Miss.—Twenty-seven teenagers from across Mississippi piled off a tour bus on Rock Cut road.It’s 91 degrees. The sun is blazing. Fifty years ago, three young civil rights workers were murdered here by the Ku Klux Klan. The nation was transfixed by these murders and many say they provided the impetus to push the 1964 Civil Rights Act through Congress. But most of the teenagers on today’s tour say they knew nothing about this history.

Have lessons about Mississippi’s violent past become optional?

McCOMB, Miss.—It wasn’t until his senior year of high school that Zachary Schilling learned of the racist violence that had transpired in his south Mississippi city during the 1960’s. In a civil rights elective course at McComb High School, he and his classmates were stunned by stories of bombings, lynchings and a student walkout. “Everybody […]

In Mississippi, summer vacation puts lower-income learners at risk

When schools let out across Mississippi last week, more than 450,000 children headed into 11 weeks of summer. For some kids, that means weeks of camps, traveling, and educational programs. For others, especially in the most poor and rural parts of the state, summer means hours of lost learning time, unsupervised activities, and academic regression. […]

With new standards, can schools find room for creative writing?

For the past few years, the new nationwide Common Core state standards have been slowly rolling out in Florida’s schools. Next year, all schools will fully implement the standards, which lay out what students are expected to learn in reading and math in kindergarten through twelfth grade. It’s led to big changes for teachers, many […]

Can literacy coaches help solve Mississippi’s education woes?

Jackson, Miss. — When Kristen Wells joined the staff at Emmalee Isable Elementary in West Jackson as literacy coach last August, she was hit with a host of challenges. Less than 30 percent of third-graders were proficient or advanced on the state reading exam. The school, like many in Mississippi, was in the midst of […]

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