In 2020, ‘barriers to learning’ will disappear

Published 1:05 pm Monday, April 19, 2010

The following was inspired by Time’s cover article last week reporting on the increasing trend of paying students for good grades in some districts and merely for attending school in others. It’s cynical, but not impossible.


Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees

April 19, 2020

The meeting was called to order by Zelmarine Murphy Jr., trustee president. The invocation was offered by Tommy Shelton Jr., trustee vice president. Also attending were the trustees Joe Loviza Jr., Jerry Boland Jr. and James Stirgus III.

Ms. Murphy Jr. called for the superintendent’s report, during which Superintendent Dr. James Price Jr. said there was only one topic to be discussed — the continuing slide of student achievement test scores and, more specifically, what to do about it.

Mr. Loviza Jr. commented that he remembered his father talking about “his day” before transportation was provided. If parents wanted their children to attend school they had to get them there. Parents had to send a sandwich with the children, too.

Mr. Boland Jr. commented that his father talked about the consolidation of schools and the initiation of buses on rural routes to make getting to school easier. He also talked about when U.S. Department of Agriculture started providing surplus commodities for school lunches and when the state started buying textbooks.

Mr. Shelton Jr. commented that his father would talk about the advance of providing transportation to and from school for all students and initiation of free and reduced price lunches, breakfasts and snacks so students would be healthier and learn better.

Ms. Murphy Jr. said her mother told her how kindergarten and extended-day programs had been added, along with teacher aides in every elementary classroom and parent outreach programs. She remembered hearing about federal programs adding more money to teach poor kids and Supplemental Social Security checks for parents of slower learners.

Mr. Stirgus III said his father would talk about the decision to air condition every school based on studies that, like the nutrition studies, showed students would learn more if they were comfortable. He talked about how students were exempted from semester tests if they came to school and were given pre-tests to prepare them for the state tests.

Mr. Loviza Jr. then recalled the trustee vote in 2015 to launch a pilot program, later expanded, to pay elementary students $5 per day for attending, junior high students $7.50 per day for attending and high school students $10 per day for attending.

Mr. Boland Jr. then recalled the trustee vote in 2016 to do away with buses and hire private vehicles to pick up each student and take each student home in the afternoon.

Mr. Shelton Jr. brought up the subject of the 2017 decision to provide each student a personal computer and a personal assistant to attend each and every class and coach and help with any homework in the evening.

Ms. Murphy Jr. then recalled the trustee vote in 2018 to deconstruct the academic day entirely, do away with bells, schedules, the curriculum and let students watch movies and play video games if they didn’t feel like attending math or history classes that day.

Mr. Stirgus III then recalled that last year cafeterias were replaced with food kiosks so that students could order whatever foods they desired whenever they desired. He mentioned how teachers were reassigned to work the food booths in hopes they could mention something about English or science while the children waited for their orders.

Superintendent Price Jr. then reminded the trustees that students still needed inducements to learn.

Upon a motion duly made and seconded, the trustees approved issuing unlimited debit cards to students in the hope that “all barriers to learning” would be removed.

Charlie Mitchell is executive editor of The Vicksburg Post. Write to him at Box 821668, Vicksburg, MS 39182, or e-mail