Miles to Go: Mississippi Update: Improving Education and the Economy from the Start

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Miles to Go: Mississippi: Prekindergarten Time to Begin. Southern Education Foundation. (2010).

Miles to Go: Mississippi. Southern Education Foundation. (2006).

Miles to Go Report Series. Southern Education Foundation. (1999-2010).

2009 - The report shows that Mississippi   ranked 50th in the nation in per capita income isn’t likely to improve its economic condition even after the current recession “unless and until most of its young children have access to a preschool program that prepares them to enter school-ready and able to learn from the start.”

It argues that Mississippi’s continuing economic problems are rooted in the large numbers of adults who have no high school diploma.  In 2007, 21.5 percent of Mississippi’s adults had no high school diploma. These adults had median earnings in 2007 that were $21,457 below the earnings of Mississippians with a four-year college degree.  The report also notes that in 2007 almost 2/3 of Mississippi’s children with parents who did not complete high school live in poverty.

SEF cites a range of data and studies to show that Mississippi’s biggest educational problems start in the early grades.  The SEF report praises recent reforms and increased education funding in the state but warns, that “these reforms ultimately will have a limited impact” if Mississippi does not prepare its youngest students to come to school ready to learn.

Mississippi will not leave the vicinity of 50th in the nation in education and personal income unless and until most of its young children have access to a preschool program that prepares them to enter school-ready and able to learn from the start,” the report concludes.  The report updates the Miles to Go Mississippi report released in 2006 on its economy and early education.

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