House approves bill aimed at improving schools

JACKSON, MS (AP) - Supporters say a bill that cleared the Mississippi House on Monday would force public schools to meet higher standards of accountability.

The "Children First Act of 2009" would allow the state Board of Education to ask that the governor declare a state of emergency in any school district that fails to meet state standards for two consecutive years.

The bill also says students who participate in extracurricular activities must have at least a 2.0 grade-point average on a 4-point scale.

The bill moves to the Senate, which has a separate plan with similar provisions. The two chambers have to agree on a single bill before anything can be sent to the governor.

The bills are House Bill 1142 and Senate Bill 2628.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)