Mississippi kids not measuring up in student achievement - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mississippi kids not measuring up in student achievement

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

There's a glaring "F" on Mississippi's latest report card. It's from Education Week's Quality Counts report. Now, educators say they're trying to ramp up the reforms.

"Want to make sure that all of our students can compete in this society, not only in Mississippi but across the country," said Hattiesburg Schools Superintendent James Bacchus.

The educators admit there's a good foundation is being set for pulling Mississippi up the achievement ladder.

"The early learning legislation is very key. It starts as early as we possibly can to get our students focused on education," Bacchus explained.

Last spring, the legislature passed a bill providing grant money to pre-k  programs. Jackson Public School Superintendent Dr. Cedrick Gray said that addresses a need he's seen since moving to Mississippi.

"If you're operating in a system that serves students in low poverty then there's a background deficit. Some students don't arrive to school until they're six years old and so often times they're behind already as they begin," described Gray.

Governor Phil Bryant released the following statement in response to the report. "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,"

Gov. Phil Bryant said. "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."

Yet, some districts believe the changes aren't effective without the resources. The funding formula for education is roughly $300 million under funded. Educators say that overshadows successes of new reforms.

East Jasper Superintendent Dr. Gwendolyn Page said, "We need to ensure that we have the funds to implement what we're being asked to do."


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