Gov. Phil Bryant will help lead a national group that earlier this year gave Mississippi an award for education innovation.
Bryant, a Republican, was elected chairman of the Denver-based Education Commission of the States at the group’s winter conference in late November. Bryant will take over from Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, in July 2017.
“This is a credit to the progress that Mississippi has seen in recent years with our education system,” Bryant said in an announcement on his Facebook page.
For two years in a row, Mississippi made some of the largest gains in the country on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the nation’s report card on public schools.
Combining science, reading and math results, Mississippi is tied for second in the nation for significant gains. However, the state still remains in the bottom tier for each tested subject and grade. The state also has a significant achievement gap between white and minority students.
Despite the recent progress, overall the state still remains near the bottom of national rankings.
The Legislature also continues to underfund the state’s education-funding formula. In October, two legislative committees hired a consulting firm to review and possibly suggest a new funding model.
In May, the Education Commission of the States awarded Mississippi its Frank Newman Award for State Innovation, citing a “transformational education reform package.”
Specifically, the commission said Mississippi’s reform focused on early-childhood reading and included the expansion of charter schools and the implementation of an A through F accountability system for schools. Additionally, the group cited a teacher pay increase passed in 2014.
Contributing: Kate Royals