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Education, a Lt. Governor and the Future of Mississippi Students

• ExcelinEd

As legislative sessions wind down across the nation, some leaders remain focused on improving education in their states for the long haul.

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is one such leader. Last week the Vicksburg Post reported on his recent conversation about the importance of education for the future of his state. Read the excerpt below to learn what Lt. Gov. Reeves has to say about grading schools and Mississippi’s new focus on K-3 reading.

He said the new system of grading school systems with letter grades of A through F is easier for people to understand, “Because everybody in our state — every mother and every grandma — knows what to expect from an ‘A,’ and everyone of them knows we can do better than a ‘C.’”

He said the recently implemented “Third Grade Gate,” which requires students who fail to read at the third-grade level to repeat the grade, will provide dividends in the long run.

The state Department of Education, he said, has set the standard and projected the number of students likely to be held back.

“The transition is going to be difficult for everybody,” Reeves said, “but I believe it’s better for those kids who are being held back (so) that the schools, and the principals and administrators, and teachers and the reading coaches are focused in ensuring, at least for that one year, on getting that kid up to a level where he’s having an easier time reading.

“It’s my view that kindergarten to third-grade, kids are learning to read,” he said. “Beyond the third grade, they’re reading to learn.”

If a child is struggling with reading in the fourth, fifth and sixth grade, he said, “The likelihood they’re going to be able to do their math and science homework is relatively low. The likelihood they’re going to become a statistic when they’re in the seventh, eighth and ninth grade is going to be relatedly high.”

He said he also favors public charter schools, adding, “It’s not about partisan politics, it’s about kids.”

“Every single piece of education reform that I have championed has been about focusing on what’s best for kids whether it’s best for the adults or not,” he said.

Read the complete article at Vicksburg Post.

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