Mississippi is behind in many key areas when it comes to education, but leaders are hoping a change in their approach can lead to big improvements.

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Education Leaders Call for Changes in the Coming Year

By Daniel Cherry | Published 15 Nov 2011 06:18pm | comments
Hundreds of educators met at the annual Mississippi School Board Association Fall Leadership Conference

As the new legislative session draws near, education leaders are pushing fresh strategies in hopes of improving Mississippi's education. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how educators say the state has to change it's approach.

Mississippi is the least educated state in the nation, and signs like the state's scores in math and science don't show significant improvement over the years. Education advocate Claiborne Barksdale says if changes are to be made Mississippi has to start attracting the best teachers in the nation.

"A child who comes into school significantly behind, an average teacher is not what that child needs. That child needs a great teacher to move them ahead more than a year."

That's why Barksdale hopes the legislature will agree to appropriate 12 and a half million dollars toward bringing in more Teach for America and Mississippi Teacher Corps teachers to underserved areas. Larry Green is the Superintendent of the Western Line School District in Washington and Issaquena Counties. He says the state has to make attracting teachers a top priority.

"People don't want tax increases etc. but Mississippi is going to have to find ways to get the money. I know it's difficult to fund all other areas of the budges with Medicaid, but that's all right. What's more important than educating your kids."

Educated citizens are healthier and make more money. That's why Dr. Tom Burnham the State Superintendent of Education says it's time Mississippi chooses a proven strategy and sticks with it.

"The program stays continuous and the focus is on moving forward. That's a lesson that we need to adopt in our state, to move away from this constant state of change and looking forward the silver bullet and moving toward a common purpose."

Dr. Burnham suggests examining education tactics used by the most successful nations and bringing those strategies to Mississippi.

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Hundreds of educators met at the annual Mississippi School Board Association Fall Leadership Conference


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