BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - According to Mississippi's early learning standards, by age four, students should be able to recognize and write their own names. They should also be able to recognize a few high frequency sight words. If they can tackle skills like this by age four, imagine what they can do in Kindergarten. Students are now reading and writing at age five. It's becoming a necessity for students to start early, especially if they want to pass the state's new third grade reading requirement.
Education is supposed to take center stage this legislative session. And while common core will likely bore the brunt of discussions, early education will also be a focal point for some lawmakers.
Representative Sonya Williams Barnes of Gulfport is an advocate for public education. She told WLOX News, her first priority is to introduce a bill that would require all Mississippi five year olds to attend Kindergarten. As it stands, Kindergarten is not mandatory in Mississippi. Most parents enroll their children, but some don't.
Sonya Williams Barnes says it wouldn't cost the state a dime, and by making mandatory for all five year olds to attend school, she feels it would only reinforce our state's efforts to improve education, because you have to start early.
Sonya Williams Barnes went on to tell WLOX News, "education is the sharpest tool in the box of economics. I encourage business leaders and corporations to invest in education."