Day after day, I read discouraging news in the Sun Herald about our schools here in Mississippi. It is overwhelming. Most recently, lowest test grades in AP classes. Mississippi having the lowest graduation rates in the nation, most teen pregnancies, and teachers paid far below the national average is news that is well known.
One recent letter to the editor that stated it was a waste of taxpayers' money on preschool programs basically because parents aren't following through in the home.
My question is if the parents are not following through in the home and the child is not getting any instruction outside of the home, then isn't that a double strike for our children not giving them a preschool opportunity? We have got to turn our children's destinies around so they will be better parents and end this cycle of school dropouts and students who can't perform. Preschool is where it all begins.
I have discovered, and want to share with the readers an organization called MS Parents' Campaign with Nancy Loome at the helm as the executive director. Basically, this organization is a watchdog on the Legislature on educational matters. The Parents' Campaign is a nonprofit, grassroots network of parents and citizens and is not affiliated with any political party or any other education association. It is committed to ensuring every Mississippi child has access to an excellent school.
Our report card for South Mississippi is promising.
According to the Mississippi School and School District Accountability Ratings for 2013 only 5 schools out of 89 schools in our three coastal counties are on academic watch. Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties have all received B's for their total average. Biloxi, Ocean Springs, Long Beach and Pass Christian city schools all received A's, and Bay St. Louis, Gulfport and Pascagoula City schools received B's.
In 2009, 216 schools received designations that now fall into the F category. This year, that number has dropped to 92, less than half the number in 2009.
In 2009, 175 schools fell into the top two categories, now designated as A and B. Today, we have 327 A and B schools; that number has nearly doubled. Could some of this improvement mean that a preschool program is working?