Mississippi In Pilot Program For "No Child Left Behind"

Six states, including Mississippi, have been selected to lead a national effort to implement federal education reforms outlined in the No Child Left Behind Act.

The accountability law, signed by President Bush in January, requires students in the third through eighth grades to be tested in reading and math proficiency by the 2005-2006 school year. Students in schools where scores fail to improve for two consecutive years can transfer to another public school.

The group received 28 applications and Wednesday chose West Virginia, Alaska, Illinois, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Tennessee for the first phase. They hope to expand to all 28 states by January.

The nonprofit Education Leaders Council in Washington D-C received a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education in June to develop state models that put the act's principles into practice.

Officials say each of the states will receive $1.5 million in software, technical assistance and other management tools to enable teachers and policy-makers to make mandated changes.