Mississippi’s public school teachers are amazing, and our most recent national test scores prove it!
Over the last decade, Mississippi students have outpaced the nation in improvement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the “Nation’s Report Card.” But the really great news comes when we dig a little deeper.
When test scores are disaggregated, or sorted, to compare the achievement of “like” students in all states, the results are astounding. When sorted by income and ethnicity, here’s how Mississippi ranks among the 50 states:
Grade 4 Math – 12th in the nation
Grade 4 Reading – 13th in the nation
Grade 8 Math – 25th in the nation
Grade 8 Reading – 29th in the nation
In every state, students in low-income households score lower on standardized tests, on average, than their more affluent peers, who have access to more books, high quality pre-k, enrichment camps, paid tutors, etc., and therefore tend to have higher achievement. Low-income students are simply at a resource disadvantage, and Mississippi has a far greater percentage of these students than any other state. This skews our overall test results downward.
But when like students are compared, the truth about the value gained in our public schools becomes evident. Mississippi teachers do a better job of moving students to achievement than the teachers in most other states.
Research shows that poverty-related achievement gaps narrow when low-income students are provided extra resources at school. Mississippi has by far the highest poverty level in the country, yet our per-pupil expenditure is among the lowest. Can you imagine what our students and teachers could achieve if they were provided adequate funding?
During this Teacher Appreciation Week, one of the most important ways that you can thank our fantastic public school teachers is by insisting that our Legislature provide them funding that is sufficient to do the job we are asking them to do. You can:
Ask your legislators to provide adequate funding to our public schools
Write a letter to the editor acknowledging the terrific work of public school teachers and demanding adequate school resources
Support candidates in the 2019 election who will vote to adequately fund public schools
As state superintendent Dr. Carey Wright so aptly advised, “…don’t let anyone get away with saying Mississippi is on the bottom and education is not working in Mississippi…We are not on the bottom!”
We at The Parents’ Campaign are grateful for the extraordinary work being done by Mississippi teachers in public school classrooms every day. Teachers, we salute you, and we pledge to continue our fight for the resources you need and deserve.
Thank you, teachers, again and again and again for giving our kids their very best shot at a bright future!