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State School Superintendent Lays Out Reform Agenda

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 18 Dec 2012 04:49pm | comments
Lynn House

Mississippi's top educator is laying out an array of legislative goals aimed at reforming Mississippi schools. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports Interim Superintendent Dr. Lynn House is targeting changes from the beginning of school through graduation.

Leading Mississippi lawmakers have called for the up coming legislative session to be 'the year of the student', and interim superintendent of education Dr. Lynn House says the Department of Education wants to be involved.

At a meeting with MPB, House laid out a number of goals including transforming high school in the state.

"The high school model is antiquated. It is a very old model that has little done to it in decades. We have to start looking at it differently," House said.

For example, students could be allowed to take a test after 10th grade, graduate and move into a career while more college bound students finish the final two years.

The Department of education also intends to push for a broader pre-K education and improving reading skills before kids hit the critical third grade year.

"We have to put interventions in place that are going to work. You can't wait until third grade and say to students and say 'oh my goodness you are not going to make it. You have to stay in third grade. Interventions have to start in kindergarten," House said.

While acknowledging budgetary realities, House also plans to push lawmakers to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education program...the formula that determines how much the state should be spending on education.

The Republican led legislature is expected to make a strong push for charter schools next session.

Dr. House says she not opposed to charter schools in Mississippi but wants the MDE to oversee the schools and make sure they are directed into the most high need districts.

"Our board has said repeated that it is not opposed to the notion of a charter school. It just doesn't want the charter school movement, if you will, to cause other schools to be significantly damaged in terms of funding and students,"  House said.

The 2013 legislative session begins January 8th.


Lynn House



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