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Report: Mississippi sets state record at 30th nationally in education

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Mississippi has achieved a milestone in education.

The 2024 Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Book was released on Monday with Mississippi being ranked 30th in the nation educationally — the state’s highest ranking in history. The annual 50-state report of recent household data analyzes how children and families are faring.

Each year, the Data Book presents national and state data from 16 indicators in four domains — economic well-being, education, health, and family and community factors — and ranks the states according to how children are doing in those respective categories. Also examined in this year’s report were declines in student math and reading proficiency brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on education.

While Mississippi ranks 49th in overall child well-being, the Magnolia State has shown noticeable progress in half of the 16 indicators. In 2014, Mississippi was 48th nationally in education. That figure fell to 39th in 2022 and 32nd in 2023, showing recent strides in advancement.

KIDS COUNT ranks education by measuring pre-K enrollment, 4th-grade reading skills, 8th-grade math proficiency, and the high school graduation rate.

“This is another history-making moment for Mississippi,” Gov. Tate Reeves said. “We have more work to do, but the fact that we’re 30th in the entire nation for education proves how much momentum we have in the classroom. Mississippi will continue doing everything we can to provide students with the tools they need to lead fulfilling lives and secure high-paying careers in our state. Congratulations to Mississippi’s parents, teachers, and students for once again making history.”

The Children’s Foundation of Mississippi has released the 2024 Mississippi KIDS COUNT Factbook to determine opportunities for improving outcomes for all Mississippi children.

“Despite the state’s overall ranking of 49, we are encouraged that Mississippi ranks 30th in education. This is Mississippi’s highest ranking in the education domain in decades,” Linda Southward, executive director of the Children’s Foundation of Mississippi, said. “While there is room for improvement in specific indicators, most notably among eighth graders who are not proficient in math, we are pleased to note that the consistent increased investment in Pre-K is better preparing students for kindergarten. One notable improvement is the percentage of Mississippi’s high school students not graduating on time. In 2021-22 this was 12%, compared to 15% in the previous reporting period.”

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