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Mississippi Graduate Rate Not Improving

By Annie Gilbertson | Published 07 Jun 2011 05:18pm | comments
New report shows Mississippi's graduation rate is not fairing well nationally.

While the national graduation rate is predicted to increase this year, many Mississippi students are failing to get a diploma. MPB's education reporter, Annie Gilbertson, examines Education Week's new report and why Mississippi is falling behind.

Mississippi is graduating about 10 percent fewer students than the national average, 72 percent. Of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Mississippi ranks 45th and ahead of South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana.

This summer, students across the state are making-up credits to stay on track for graduation. Maria, a junior at Clinton High School, found World History particularly difficult.

“Didn’t pass this year. I knew it; I just had some problems this year. I thought the Renaissance period, about the art and stuff. Usually, it sounds easy, too. It was difficult learning all the names and stuff.”

Mississippi has made the requirements for graduation more rigorous. The change in curriculum may have something to do with why graduation rates have stagnated in the last few years instead of continuing to increase, according to Wendy Polk, Director of Communications at the Mississippi Department of Education. She explains why they raised the bar.

“Well, I think that the expectation, not only in Mississippi and across the United States, but globally, is that students are expected to learn more quickly and on a variety of subjects.”

The Department of Education set a goal to reduce the dropout rate by 13 percent by 2013. The state is looking to initiatives that could help improve diploma counts, including the Choice Bus, a tool that seeks for middle school students to commit to graduation. The state is also looking at offering high school students multiple graduation options.

For MPB, from the Southern Education Desk, I’m Annie Gilbertson.

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New report shows Mississippi's graduation rate is not fairing well nationally.


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