Mississippi Governor Recognized for Leading Education Improvements for Students

Governor Phil Bryant receives the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 29, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Governor Phil Bryant and the state of Mississippi received the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation. The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) nominated Governor Bryant and Mississippi for this Education Commission of the States award that recognizes a state for improving education and implementing bold, bipartisan policies with significant student impact. Laurie Smith, Ph.D., Education Policy Advisor to Governor Bryant, accepted the award on his behalf.

"Over the past four years, Governor Bryant and the Mississippi Legislature have taken courageous actions to develop policies that will improve the education system and help students find new pathways to achieve their dreams. These policies are currently in implementation and will benefit today's students and generations to come," said Patricia Levesque, CEO of ExcelinEd. "We applaud the Governor as well as the incredible efforts of Mississippi 's educators, parents and community leaders, who are, under the Governor's leadership, taking ownership of these reforms to better prepare young Mississippians for life's increasing expectations."

Mississippi is quickly becoming the next great American success story in education. In the 2015 session, Governor Bryant championed and signed into law the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act (SB 2695). The new law allows parents to utilize "education scholarship accounts" to create a customized education for their children with special needs.
"Using innovation to modernize Mississippi's education system has been a priority since I took office," Governor Bryant said. "The reforms we've enacted are working, and I am grateful to ExcelinEd and the Education Commission of the States for recognizing Mississippi as a leader in revolutionizing public education."

Governor Bryant and the Mississippi Legislature have revolutionized education policy in the Magnolia State, and it is starting to see promising results for Mississippi's students. In November 2015, Mississippi students demonstrated unprecedented learning gains for fourth grade reading and mathematics on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the result of targeted policies enacted earlier in Governor Bryant's first term in office.

For example, to ensure students are ready to "read to learn," Mississippi passed the Literacy-Based Promotion Act in 2013. Governor Bryant championed the law, and after its passage, he led the charge to ensure that it was fully implemented. Governor Bryant worked to secure millions of dollars for literacy coaches, teacher training and educating parents. And students responded with gains in reading.

Since the enactment of A-F School Grading in 2012, Mississippi also earns an A for helping ensure that every child in every classroom matters. This is the benefit provided by a simple accountability system that grades schools on the academic progress of all students. Governor Bryant, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, the Mississippi Legislature, Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright and the Mississippi Department of Education have successfully focused on student learning by measuring success and holding schools accountable. Time and again, implementation of A-F School Grading has demonstrated that the results are worth the effort. Governor Bryant has insisted the state stay the course on this law, and Mississippi will reap these gains in student achievement as the new accountability measurements continue driving positive results.


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