Scores from last spring’s state testing have been released, and they are very much in line with expectations.
These tests for grades 3 through 8 were aligned with the more challenging subject matter that is now being taught in Mississippi classrooms. Statewide, 59 percent of 3rd through 8th grade students scored in the top three performance categories (Levels 3-5) in Math and 60 percent did so in English Language Arts. According to PARCC, Level 3 indicates adequate understanding, Level 4 strong understanding, and Level 5 distinguished understanding.
You can see your school and district test scores here. School ratings (A-F) have not yet been assigned.
Having received far below “adequate” resources almost their entire school careers, it is remarkable that more than half of Mississippi students achieved at least “adequate understanding” on the PARCC assessments. Just imagine what our children could achieve if our state invested fully in their potential!
The leadership seems not to be moving in that direction – yet. This week, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) announced it is recommending cuts for almost every state agency in Fiscal Year 2017. While MAEP funding is recommended to remain the same as the current year (well below what the law requires), significant cuts are recommended for the K-12 General Education budget and the state Schools for the Blind and the Deaf. Read more here.
Meanwhile, the Rainy Day Fund is left intact, and the leadership is considering additional corporate tax breaks. The JLBC recommendation is used as a baseline for the final budget negotiations which will begin when the Legislature convenes in January.
Many of you have planned monthly meetings with your legislators through the Legislative Session to discuss school funding and other important issues affecting your child’s education. That is terrific! Legislators have promised to be our voice at the Capitol, and that is possible only when they are listening to constituents to learn about our priorities.
As we celebrate this holy holiday season, I am reminded of the incredible potential embodied in a child, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the thousands of you who are committed to ensuring that each child in Mississippi is provided the most basic and important of gifts: the quality of education he needs to become whatever it is that he dreams of being. It is a tremendous privilege to stand with you in that endeavor.