“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.”
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.