Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mississippi education gets a "D"

The Mississippi Department of Education issued the following press release:

Mississippi Receives “D” in Annual Quality Counts National Report

JACKSON, Miss. –The annual Education Week Quality Counts report gave Mississippi a “D” in K-12 education based on average grades for three key performance indicators – Chance for Success (D+), School Finance (D+) and K-12 Achievement (F) – placing Mississippi last in the nation. The country’s overall average grade is “C.”

However, the state received a high mark for early childhood education efforts, a new index featured in the 2015 report. Mississippi earned a “B” for early childhood education enrollment compared to a “D+” for the nation. The Early Education Index analyzed preschool enrollment, availability of full-day preschool programs, Kindergarten enrollment, and the number of students attending full-day Kindergarten. Mississippi ranked second nationally for Head Start enrollment and third nationally for Kindergarten enrollment and availability of full-day Kindergarten, which boosted the state’s grade.

“It’s good evaluators looked at enrollment numbers but it is equally important that the programs for those children are of high quality, which is a priority of the Mississippi Board of Education,” Wright said.

The 2015 annual “State of the States” report ranks states on a range of key state indicators and awards letter grades for states and the nation. The 19th edition is different from years past in that evaluators focused on three areas when scoring states as opposed to a wider range of education indicators. Summative grades from those past reports are not directly comparable to those issued this year, according to the Education Week Research Center.
“This well-respected national report highlights the fact that the Mississippi Board of Education is on the right track with its five-year strategic plan to improve educational opportunities for all students. We will continue to push for reforms that keep standards for learning high, improve graduation rates, increase access to high-quality early childhood programs and support effective teachers and school leaders,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. 

A closer look at the K-12 education indicators in each category shows areas for improvement for the state’s, the Mississippi Department of Education, educators, and communities. The state’s lowest score was for the K-12 Achievement Index, which incorporates achievement levels and gains in math and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), high school graduation rates and performance on advanced placement (AP) exams.
Mississippi’s 2013 NAEP scores for 4th and 8th grade reading and math were well below the national average, ranging from 20 percent of 8th graders proficient in reading to 26 percent of 4th graders proficient in math. While the state had small gains in achievement in those areas since 2003, Mississippi still lags the nation, which also had proficiency rates below 45%. (Emphasis added by KF)

“Our students’ academic performance compared to other states is of high interest to business and industry looking to locate to Mississippi. The Board and I believe that education is an economic driver, and companies want a prepared workforce,” Wright said. “We will do our best to raise the quality of education in the state.”

The K-12 Achievement Index also noted that 3.9 percent of Mississippi students who took an AP exam scored a passing grade of 3 or higher compared to 25.7 percent nationwide. As a result of the state’s overall educational performance, evaluators gave Mississippi an “F,” the lowest score in the nation.

“We know that many factors influence student achievement, and we hope the leadership in our state and communities will make decisions that will provide better opportunities for students to take advanced placement courses,” Wright said.

The final category in the report looked at equity and spending indicators, such as adjusted per pupil expenditures based on regional cost differences, amount of disparity in spending, the relationship between district funding and local property wealth, and state expenditures on K-12 schooling. Mississippi received a “D+” and the nation earned a “C.”

“Overall, we can certainly identify areas in this report we can address, and the Board will continue to create policies and use resources to encourage high levels of student achievement,” Wright said.


Cursory Look said...

This elitist, statist, goofball - Dr. Wright, says it's good that they look at enrollment numbers but it's also important to look at what the schools are doing (loosely quoting). No shit.

Anonymous said...

Great timing on this KF. Thanks. Folks saying you can get a great education in the public schools. Those folks are thinking locally. A good school in Mississippi means nothing outside of Mississippi. How do the universities compare outside of Mississippi?

Anonymous said...

D's get degrees

Anonymous said...

Respectfully, I'm not sure that Dr. Wright or the MDE Board are the real goofballs here. However, some of our high-office elected officials clearly are.

We're collectively failing in the effort to properly educate our kids. The traditional definition of insanity seems to apply here -- "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results...".

More and more parents aren't doing their job with the kids, elected folks want to throw more money at the same lame educational approaches that will just get us more debt, and nobody seems willing to take on a wholesale revamp of the educational environment and approach from the districts down to every school.

Anonymous said...

The most important words in this article are " we hope the leadership in our state and communities will make decisions that will provide better opportunities for students"...unfortunately, Wright added " to take advanced placement courses " only.

Our state government and our communities could not have done more to assure that we were dead bottom if that had been their goal!

The first job of those responsible for educating our children is to educate themselves on how that can best be accomplished! And, then they must educate the ordinary voter!

Our citizens had best face the fact that when " our house" is falling apart, it's going to cost more to fix it than it would had we taken good care of it over the years ! We best look honestly at our role not doing our required maintenance when it would have been less expensive to fix!

If we want to fix education and not have the lack of an educated work base affect our future, it starts with all of us looking in the mirror!

Anonymous said...

I done went to jackkson scools an I think I learnt a lot of good things!!!

Anonymous said...

D's might get a degree but what about getting a job? Come on, so many can't spell, read or speak. But they have a degree. How do our public schools rank in the country?

Anonymous said...

What a revelation! I would never have guessed such a sad state of educational affairs in this State.

I'm so glad these people exist to come along and point out the complete obvious.

It all goes to shit after they learn their colors.

Anonymous said...

Better oppose common core because clearly our curriculum is already top notch.

Anonymous said...

8:02 am is clearly part of the problem we have.

He believes that we can't do anything about public education when the system is dominated by Blacks.

If he were well educated, he would know that schools in predominately black or poor districts in other states rated much higher. He would compare our private schools to those in other states as well.

When whites dominated the governing systems in Mississippi, he'd know we weren't rating highly then either!

He never asks himself why so many of our brightest young people leave the state and never come back. Could it be, in part, that they've seen that many who have and tried to improve things are criticized by the peanut gallery rather than universally welcomed? Or is it just that being bright and well educated is not only not valued here but regarded with suspicion by both races?

People that haven't bothered to educate themselves on an issue should really listen and read rather than talk and write!

Smart people know what they don't know!

Anonymous said...

Now what we need to do is let a Hinds County Chancery judge fix this by allowing him/her to dictate where funds go throughout the state......
chirp chirp chirp

Anonymous said...

maybe D stands for Dyn-O-MITE

Anonymous said...

Prejudice is a great short term strategy for those who want to gain or retain power and/or profit from cheap labor.

It sells to those who are insecure and fear trying to increase their competition or need to look down on others to feel good about themselves.

As a long term strategy is it awful and we are seeing the proof of that.

Poor people have more children for a number of reasons so one certainty is that they will eventually outnumber those in power and rebel ( Rome, France, Russia , South Africa to name the obvious among many).

The other long term consequences are either oligarchy followed by economic decline as the privileged can't sustain the economic system alone.

So again , you end up with chaos and conflict.

But, who gives a damn about our descendants and the future when it's all about us and we are too immature to postpone short term benefits for long term gains?

Kingfish said...

Actually most of those revolutions have started when the intellectual or commercial classes are frozen out of government and demand power.

Especially Rome. One party represented the landed aristocracy. One party represented the knights (the business/commercial class). That was the rub on the civil wars. The head count (poor people) never really gained anything. No right to vote. No political power, no nothing although they were used and bribed to fight the battles as soldiers.

You'd do better to use Plato's cycle of governments.

Anonymous said...

"He would compare our private schools to those in other states as well."

St. Andrew's is ranked #18 in the nation. That means at least 32 states do not have a private school as good as SA (some states may have more than one school ranked higher than SA).

I'm pretty happy to be in that quintile, especially compared to how our public schools rank nationally.

Common Core is a good theory, designed to make inter-state comparisons of school performance possible, but at least the math portions are being executed abysmally (you can google for sample math questions and acceptable "answers"). Right now the only valid comparison to compare students from different states are the ACT & SAT scores, which are really only measurements of college preparedness, not job readiness. The cutoff for the ACT National Merit Finalist designation is lower in Mississippi than 49 other states (top 1% in each state), showing how we rate in that category as well.

Parents have to value and push for educational standards, and schools (i.e., administrators and teachers) have to be held accountable. All of this is politically unwieldy, so improvement is unlikely to happen. As long as low-skilled, poorly educated people in other countries are willing to work for one-tenth of what unskilled laborers here get, and the results are just as good, traditional low-skill jobs will continue to go overseas.

Anonymous said...

The answer is clearly more 10 year old foreign vehicles with "Fund MAEP" bumper stickers on them.

Anonymous said...

Follow the money. The Mississippi Department of Education and the overall education establishment is making tons of money off education: "professional development," testing contracts, big administrator salaries.

No one who actually works in education and pulls major strings wants to upset the status quo.

Major money that we put into education doesn't trickle down to classroom instruction.

Let's not forget that the average Mississippi inmate has a 6th grade education.

What can you do that is legal to support yourself and possibly some dependents if you can only read, write and do math on a 6th grade level?

Anonymous said...

Madison Central is a really good public school.

Anonymous said...


I've always theorized that this is a big part of the problem.

I actually really want to look into this, but don't know where to start.

It would be interesting to see the money spent on testing contracts.

Any tips for how to look into all this?

Pop Quiz said...

Here's a question for ya: How many of the above posts were written by employees working in the SDE tower? My quess is five. Yours?

Anonymous said...

Comparing Madison Central to schools on Mississippi or the entire country? SA is 18 in the country. That includes Massachusetts, NY, Cali, Illinois. If we are the 50th state in education and Madison central is not the top in the 50th state (pass Christian is btw). I'm not saying MC is not a good school but it can't compare to one ranked nationally IMHO.

Don't Despair said...

Such rankings include things like: Proximity to and availability of lab opportunities; Number of masters and PhD level instructors in the school system; Availability of visiting lecturer series associated with post secondary institutions; Proximity of field trip opportunities; Student/parent involvement in planning coursework; Methods of institutional record keeping; Availability of arts programs......on and on.

Anonymous said...

That's an excellent point? That makes St Andrews truly exceptional being just down the street from MC. It ranks higher than many excellent schools in NYC, DC and Los Angeles etc... Schools where presidents (Sidwell friends is 44), politicians, movie moguls are clamoring to send the kids are ranked lower than St Andrews. That's saying a lot being in Mississippi without so many of those things mentioned in close proximity.

Anonymous said...

One of the many reasons St. A is successful, IMO is that parents who send their kids there make sacrifices (no school bus, extremely high tuition, etc) so they are more personally invested in their child's education. They have to be willing to go out of their way to make sure their child gets to and from school every day and take on an additional financial burden.

When parents are committed to making sure kids do their homework and are interested in what their child is learning in school and make school seem like a privilege as opposed to just somewhere that's required, kids have a different attitude about learning.

If more parents in other schools were more involved and committed to their own child's education we would see improvement.

Some families in MS are barely getting by, both parents are working long hours to keep the lights on. Or maybe it's a single mom working two jobs. They may not be around to ensure that their child is completing homework and understands the material that's being covered in class. The parents themselves may have a negative attitude towards school or authority figures in general and that affects their children's performance in the classroom.

Poverty breeds poverty. There's no simple answer or easy fix for the problem.

Anonymous said...

The rankings below have been compiled on the basis of a number of factors. In terms of academic excellence, the schools on the following list maintain a superior level of instruction, quality relationships with top-tier colleges, and additional academic awards and honors.

Because diversity of the student body is integral to preparing students for living and working in a connected, global society, we factor this into our criteria for the rankings. The diversity of a student population, as well as opportunities to connect to the world, are telling factors of a school’s commitment to preparing its students for the world outside of the school environment.

The third aspect assessed for this listing consists of intangible factors, such as innovative degree programs in the arts, current student satisfaction with their high school, quality and experience of the faculty, or modern lab or athletic facilities. Also, we have striven for as much geographical diversity as is consistent with our other criteria.

They don't mention the (more than just a correlation) relationship of the schools ranked to their tuition costs. This is because of the flawed theory that money can buy intelligence. One can spend money and educate an apple all they want, but it will never become a dolphin. It's also due to the atheist that designed the rankings being less interested in quantifying the subject matter than generating a link-baiting scheme, much like his "50 best Atheists" list.

Good job SA. Promoting yourself based on the illegitimate ramblings of a devout atheist. Ironic.

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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