Starkville Daily News - - FO­RUM -

“This year, we spent just un­der $400 mil­lion more on pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion than was spent the year be­fore I be­came lieu­tenant gov­er­nor,” he said.

The state has worked for school dis­trict con­sol­i­da­tion, Reeves said, and there were pre­vi­ously 152 dis­tricts statewide and now there are 139 dis­tricts.

“We be­lieve the best way for ev­ery kid in Mis­sis­sippi to get a qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion is to have a qual­ity teacher in ev­ery class­room, and the best way to have a qual­ity teacher in ev­ery class­room is to spend more money in the class­room and less money in the dis­trict of­fice,” Reeves said.

Reeves also pointed to an

in­crease in the grad­u­a­tion rate of stu­dents with spe­cial needs from 25 per­cent to 35 per­cent af­ter a new schol­ar­ship pro­gram al­lows those stu­dents to move to a dif­fer­ent school bet­ter suited to their needs. Ed­u­ca­tion sav­ings ac­counts have also been implemented for stu­dents with spe­cial needs and dys­lexia.

Reeves said read­ing lev­els of third graders in the state have im­proved since the Third Grade Lit­er­acy Pro­mo­tion Act was passed

Af­ter third grade, Reeves said stu­dents should be read­ing to learn and not learn­ing to read.

Ac­cord­ing to Reeves, the first year, 85 per­cent of stu­dents passed the test on the first try, and last year, which was the sec­ond year, 92 per­cent

passed the test on the first try

Reeves said there has also been an in­crease in high school grad­u­a­tion rates through­out the state. In 2010, the na­tional high school grad­u­a­tion rate was 82.3 per­cent, while Mis­sis­sippi was 70.5 per­cent. Last year, the na­tional grad­u­a­tion rate was 83.2 per­cent, and Mis­sis­sippi was just over 82 per­cent.

“2017 is Mis­sis­sippi’s bi­cen­ten­nial,” Reeves said. “We’ve been a state for 200 years. Mis­sis­sippi has a very chal­leng­ing and com­pli­cated his­tory, but I be­lieve in this, in our 200th year, Mis­sis­sip­pi­ans need to spend less time apol­o­giz­ing and spend more time brag­ging about the good things go­ing on, and there are a lot of good things.”

(Photo by Mary Ru­more, SDN)

Fifth grade read­ing and lan­guage arts teacher at Over­street Ele­men­tary TaNaya Bluitt and fifth grade stu­dents Christo­pher Higgins and Cas­san­dra Allen were the Ro­tary Teacher of the Year and Stu­dents of the Year.

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