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Mississippi Public School Info

Mississippi’s Public Education System has been under attack for the last few years from many directions. Contrary to misguided and false information, our public schools continue to successfully educate children. Public schools serve the vast majority of students in our State, with over 92% of all Mississippi students currently enrolled in public schools. Our public schools educate everyone, giving each child the opportunity for greatness and to pursue their dreams regardless of disability, talents, or socioeconomic status.

Public schools provide a wide range of services, to individualize education for each child, including gifted education, advanced classes, a myriad of sports, band, choir, career and technical education, speech therapy, counseling, special education, theatre, arts, and the list continues. Public schools make every dollar count to provide these services, catering to the needs of all.

We welcome and nurture all students, teaching each one with differentiated instruction at each educational level they bring to the classroom. However, in evaluating schools, keep in mind that we educate and test everybody, not only top performers and/or the college bound. District test scores and statistics reflect our population.

Mississippi has many problems. We have a history of poverty, pervasive illiteracy, and the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the nation, but the most detrimental to State progress is the division of our populace in support of public education. Education is the way up and out of poverty into prosperity. It is Mississippi’s best hope for the future. The solution is not the decrease of educational services, but providing guidance and help for those districts needing assistance. Mississippi’s leadership needs to look carefully at the accomplishments of public schools and work to improve the entire system. Mississippi’s educational system is not failing but persevering and progressing in the face of almost insurmountable problems, which include fluctuating standards, capricious changes in requirements and testing, and insufficient funding.

According to the Mississippi Center for Justice, a nonprofit public interest law firm, Mississippi needs to get on a different track for progress. “The most basic investment that can be made to ensure State prosperity is more evenly shared is simply equipping young people with the best possible education….”

Peruse several facts about our State: *Mississippi spends $8,164 per student annually for education, 5th from the bottom in America, with nearly 18% of funding derived from the federal government. Mississippi spends an average of $27,000 annually per prison inmate. Which do you think is the better investment?

• Mississippi household income is the lowest in the nation, with 25% of our population living in poverty, and as of 2003, the most recent National Assessment of Adult Literacy, at least 15 percent of adults in Mississippi were found to be illiterate, with rates soaring as high as 30 percent in some of the most impoverished and rural counties. The high illiteracy rate means that some parents are unable to read to or help their children in school. Do you think the statistics of underfunding and poverty correlate?

Please be an advocate for public education and help Mississippi progress. Look more carefully at our accomplishments and try to help with solutions to our problems. Education is the ladder for progress and prosperity.

photo of Dr. David Daigneault