The Meridian Star
By Ida Brown
Mississippi's new State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey M. Wright provided an update on the state's current status with Common Core State Standards as well as other state education initiatives at Tuesday's Business Before Hours.
Wright's presentation focused on four objectives:
• The global educational landscape.
• Mississippi's educational landscape.
• The importance of implementing higher academic standards.
• Important initiatives as Mississippi moves forward academically.
Wright began her presentation by posing the question: Why do we focus on preparing students for college and careers?
"You think about things you want to do to be successful, but we also know that not all children when they graduate from high school want to go to college," she said. "My point in educating children is that they have a legitimate choice, not a default. In others words, they graduate from high school and they can say, 'I can go to college, or I can go into the world of work and do both equally as well."
Wright added that Mississippi must not only prepare students for the 21st century, but also improve job opportunities as well as the state's economy.
In her discussion about the global educational landscape, Wright detailed the United States' performance in comparison to other countries in relation to the cost of education and the number of graduates.
"In 1995, the cost of education went up, but the percentages of graduates was low. In 2006, costs continued to increase, but we've done very little as far as more graduates," she said.
Wright is an advocate for Common Core State Standards and believes that it can be a game-changer for children across the nation, and especially those in Mississippi.
"These standards are very clear and they are focused on college- and career-preparedness," she said. "It not only helps students to be prepared for college and careers, but also makes them highly competitive – not only globally, but also within their own state."
Wright cited the following as key initiatives of the Mississippi Department of Education currently in the works:
• Listserv – Early Childhood Office (which includes kindergarten readiness assessment, LETRS training, literary coaches, Pre-K collaborations, data coaches and profession development outreach.
• ACT for all 11th graders
• Superintendents Academy
• MDE reorganization