Mississippi has ranked in the top five states in the country when it comes to the quality and standards of public preschool.
The ranking was given in a report by the National Institute for Early Education Research. The institute looked at access to public pre-k, enrollment, educational level required of preschool teachers, class size, and learning standards.
“We had 10 out of 10, which we were only one of five states in the nation to do that,” said State Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright. “Then they introduced two new benchmarks and got rid of one and we met eight out of ten of those.”
Mississippi’s public pre-k programs are relatively new and in 2016 they served just one percent of three-year-olds and four percent of four-year-olds.
“We feel very confident about our ability to move forward and meet those two benchmarks next year,” said Dr. Wright.
Kindergartners who attended public and private pre-k scored higher on the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment than other children who did not have a pre-k experience.
Dr. Wright said the state has new standards in place that weren’t there in the past. Over the past three years they have worked to ensure that all of the teachers have at least a bachelors degree in early childhood. They have been working on providing professional development as well.
“We are so excited, it’s a big deal to be recognized as only one of five states to be ranked this way,” said Dr. Wright.