Mississippi has made progress toward catching up with the rest of the nation in the academic achievement of its students.
According to a report released this week, Mississippi over the past 12 years has shown more improvement in math and reading scores on a respected national test than the U.S. average.
State education leaders credit tougher standards, a focus on literacy in the early grades and greater professional support for teachers for the results.
That’s the good news.
The bad is there is still a long way to go to completely closing the achievement gap. In fourth grade, if Mississippi can keep up its torrid pace, it will still take roughly another 15 years to match the national average. For eighth-graders, it will take 44 years in math and 120 years in reading. Thus, while it’s good to celebrate the momentum, it’s important to understand the mountain has still been only partially climbed.