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Graduation rate rises, dropout rate...

Graduation rate rises, dropout rate falls in Mississippi

By: Jeremy Pittari - January 19, 2024

Governor Reeves extended his appreciation to all of Mississippi’s parents, teachers, and students, saying, “Our entire state is proud of you!”

Mississippi continues to make historic strides in its K-12 education system.

This week, the Mississippi Department of Education announced that the dropout rate fell to 8.5 percent during the previous school year while the high school graduation rate rose to a record-breaking 89.4 percent. 

For the past decade, the graduation rate has been improving from its rate of 74.5 percent in 2013. That year, the dropout rate was 13.9 percent. 

Mississippi’s recent graduation rate is higher than the national average of 86.5 percent, which was reported from the 2019-2020 school year by the National Center for Education Statistics. 

“The hard work of students, parents, teachers, counselors and administrators across Mississippi continues to produce outstanding outcomes,” said Dr. Raymond Morgigno, interim state superintendent of education, in a statement. “The MDE is proud of our students’ continued achievements and remains committed to ensuring all students graduate ready for college and career success.”

Graduation rates for students with disabilities also saw an increase, up to 70 percent in the 2022-2023 school year. Dropout rates for that category were recorded at 17.7 percent.

The announcement from MDE states that the statistics do not account for students who received a GED or certificate of completion but does account for students who entered high school as a freshman during the 2020-2021 school year. 

State Representative Rob Roberson (HD 43) said it’s wonderful that the state’s graduation rates are up “but what’s more important now more than ever is that our kids are either college ready or career ready.”

“I think we have a long way to go before I’m satisfied with where we are and where we need to go,” Roberson told Magnolia Tribune. “That’s not meant to take away from our students and teachers but until we give them all a shot at a great future, we need to continue to support teachers and students.”

State Representative Roberson is the new Chairman of the House Education Committee. 

Governor Tate Reeves called the education gains in Mississippi “unprecedented.”

From this all-time high graduation rate to the Mississippi Miracle, our state is preparing our students to be both well-rounded and ready to take on rewarding careers. With new jobs and investments pouring in, it’s clear that the strength of tomorrow’s workforce starts in today’s classroom,” said Govrenor Reeves in a statement.

The Governor extended his appreciation to all of Mississippi’s parents, teachers, and students “for breaking yet another education record.”

“Our entire state is proud of you!” Reeves said.

MDE notes that the impact of COVID led to waivers being issued for assessments typically taken at the end of the year in Algebra I, English II, Biology and U.S. History during the 2020-2021 school year. The waivers, MDE stated, had a positive impact on the graduation rate, but that impact should diminish for the 2023-24 school year.

About the Author(s)
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Jeremy Pittari

Jeremy Pittari is a lifelong resident of the Gulf Coast. Born and raised in Slidell, La., he moved to South Mississippi in the early 90s. Jeremy earned an associate in arts from Pearl River Community College and went on to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a bachelor's of arts in journalism. A week after Hurricane Katrina, he started an internship as a reporter with the community newspaper in Pearl River County. After graduation, he accepted a full-time position at that news outlet where he covered the recovery process post Katrina in Pearl River and Hancock Counties. For nearly 17 years he wrote about local government, education, law enforcement, crime, business and a variety of other topics.