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Mississippi reaches new heights in...

Mississippi reaches new heights in education according to latest national child well-being assessment

By: Frank Corder - June 11, 2024

  • The 2024 KIDS COUNT Data Book shows Mississippi’s education ranking is now 30th in the nation, up two spots from last year and nine places from 2022.

The Mississippi Department of Education is celebrating the state’s highest-ever ranking in the latest Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT® Data Book, a 50-state report analyzing how children and families are faring.

According to the 2024 report, Mississippi’s education ranking is now 30th in the nation, up two spots from last year and nine places from 2022.

Dr. Raymond Morgigno, interim State Superintendent of Education, said in a statement that Mississippi’s momentum in education is the result of strong policies and dedicated, effective educators.

Dr. Ray Morgigno

“The progress of our students has made the state a national leader in improving academic outcomes,” Dr. Morgigno said. “While the pandemic disrupted student learning, state and federal funds helped our schools provide additional academic support to help our students exceed pre-pandemic achievement levels.”

The report notes the “unprecedented declines” in student math and reading proficiency the Foundation says were largely brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on education.

“The latest data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress reveals that between 2019 and 2022, fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math scores plummeted, representing decades of lost progress,” the Foundation states assessing national trends. “This alarming trend underscores the urgent need for action to address the growing academic disparities among U.S. students.”

Mississippi’s students were part of those trends, although not as significantly impacted as some other states.

According to the report, Mississippi fourth-grade students not proficient in reading increased by 1 percent while eight-grade students not proficient in math increased by 6 percent – both less than the increases shown in these categories in the national average of 2 percent and 7 percent, respectively. The state’s pre-K enrollment declined by 1 percent, while the national average declined by 2 percent.

Mississippi’s students graduating on time improved by 3 percent while the national average was unchanged.

Comparatively speaking, Mississippi is among the education leaders across its neighboring states in the southeast. Alabama ranked 34th, Arkansas ranked 36th, Louisiana ranked 42nd, and Tennessee ranked 32nd. Georgia came in at 31st while Florida ranked 5th.

In addition to education, the KIDS COUNT® Data Book also examines economic well-being, health, and family and community factors for each state, providing an assessment of 16 factors impacting a child’s overall well-being.

Mississippi ranked 49th in overall child well-being but has shown progress in half of the 16 indicators.

Improvements reported by the Foundation include:

  • Children in poverty, down 2 percent.
  • Children whose parents lack secure employment, down 2 percent.
  • Children without health insurance, down 1 percent.
  • Children in single-parent families, down 2 percent.
  • Children in families where the household head lacks a high school diploma, down 2 percent.
  • Children living in high-poverty areas, down 3 percent.
  • Teen births per 1,000, down 3 percent.

To read the latest report, the 2024 KIDS COUNT® Data Book is available here

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: