AP “discovers” Mississippi miracle

In May of 2021 we at the Rio Grande Foundation noticed that Mississippi, a state that has traditionally been at the very bottom when it comes to K-12 results, had “moved the needle” on education outcomes. Numerous others have noted the same trend and the AP’s story further highlights how other states have embraced ideas that have helped improve outcomes in Mississippi.

Reforms adopted by Mississippi and others included in the AP report include: “reforms that emphasize phonics and early screenings for struggling kids.”

They “trained thousands of teachers in the so-called science of reading, which refers to the most proven, research-backed methods of teaching reading. They’ve dispatched literacy coaches to help teachers implement that training, especially in low-performing schools.”

“Mississippi, for one, holds students back in third grade if they cannot pass a reading test but also gives them multiple chances to pass after intensive tutoring and summer literacy camps.”

As the AP notes, “Mississippi’s legislation was based on a 2002 law in Florida that saw the Sunshine State achieve some of the country’s highest reading scores.” This, of course is what Rio Grande Foundation pushed at the time and then-Gov. Susana Martinez attempted to get through New Mexico’s union-controlled Legislature.