The annual Quality Counts national survey by Education Week magazine has been published and the overall state rankings are not good news for our state.
The 17th annual report contains an analysis of the states in six categories: chance for success; K-12 achievement; standards, assessments and accountability; transitions and alignment, teaching profession, and school finance.
Mississippi ranked 48th in the overall survey, ahead of Idaho, Nevada and South Dakota. We were assigned a grade of C-, largely because of our high scores on state standards, assessments and accountability.
Mississippi ranked 10th (a grade of A) in that category, which shows the state Department of Education is doing a good job in creating standards, and providing the proper testing tools to assess student performance.
Other rankings and the grades assigned to them: Chance for success, 49th (D+); K-12 achievement, 50th (F); transitions and alignment, 36th (C); teaching profession, 41st (D), and school finance, 45th (D).
The K-12 achievement ranking of 50th is very troubling. But it is not last place; that spot is held by the District of Columbia.
Many factors go into student achievement including providing a rigorous curriculum and keeping students in school, but many students are handicapped from the beginning because Mississippi does not have a comprehensive early childhood education program.
The reality is we will never see dramatic gains until we have all of our children ready to start first grade. That should be an important focus of our state’s politicians.