Senate Bill 2628, known as the Children's first Act of 2009 is designed to strengthen accountability measures and academic standards for public schools.
According to the MS Department of Education, when school ratings were last released in 2007, approximately 25 percent of our schools were rated as “superior” – the highest category – based upon student performance on state tests (MCT). Yet, in that same year, national assessments showed that only 20% of Mississippi students were even proficient in reading and math. Clearly there was a tremendous discrepancy between what was considered proficient in Mississippi and what was considered proficient by the rest of the nation.
The new rating system is different from the old in a number of ways. First and foremost, the standards are different; they are now aligned with the more challenging national standards. Additionally, rather than 5 rating levels as there were before, there are now 7: Star School, High Performing, Successful, Academic Watch, At Risk of Failing, Low Performing, and Failing.
To determine school and district ratings, the new system factors in three key components: absolute achievement, academic growth or improvement, and graduation/dropout factors. A school’s performance in these three areas will determine the rating it receives.
Many schools that were once rated “superior” will now be labeled “successful.” This does not mean that the quality of education in that school has diminished. In fact, it has probably improved.
Because our new system is now aligned with the more stringent national standards, we will no longer have a quarter of our schools rated in the highest category. Communities can now be assured that if their schools are rated as “successful” by Mississippi standards, those schools will be considered successful by national standards as well.
Below are the links for the Children First Act Report Card for Union County, the annual report, and the MS report card for all MS districts. If you cannot access the Union County report, a copy can be obtained from the Central Office or local school Principal.