New study ranks MS schools lower than last year

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - The latest study released Thursday says despite strong state standards, Mississippi students are not catching up to the rest of the nation. Our schools rank last in the school performance evaluation released by Education Week's Quality Counts report. That's down a notch from last year.

State Superintendent of Education Carey Wright said educators and officials are viewing the results as motivation to "stay the course" in improving education in Mississippi.

"While we must fund education at a level that helps our schools meet higher standards, money isn't the sole answer to improving education. It will take the collective will of the state to focus efforts on student achievement," Wright said.

Governor Phil Bryant also responded to the report Thursday, saying, "Mississippi's performance on this ranking is a prime example of why I pushed such bold public education reforms last year and why I'll continue working to improve outcomes in our classrooms. Our Third Grade Gate policy alone will have tremendous positive impact. We know that what we were doing in the past was not generating the results students need to succeed. If we are vigilant about implementing the reforms we have adopted, we will see serious improvements."

Not all the news in the report was bad. Mississippi received an "A" in accountability, assessments and standards.

"I believe this grade validates the work of the Mississippi Board of Education, Mississippi Department of Education and legislative and elected leaders over the last few years to increase accountability and to challenge students academically through the adoption and implementation of Common Core State Standards," Wright said.

"We must forge ahead with supporting higher expectations for our students, providing technical assistance and professional development to our teachers and school leaders, and working together to offer all of our students the education they deserve."

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