Lawmakers question if high school grads are ready for college


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi lawmakers want to know why some students are graduating from high school not college ready. In a public hearing Monday looking at state spending, lawmakers said the state is spending $35 million dollars a year for remediation; mainly for junior college students.

One school superintendent wants to prepare students for college, but now must do it with less money due to state budget cuts.

For Jackson Public Schools, high performing teachers is an area they want to improve on, but to do this a lot of changes would have to take place, according to JPS Superintendent Dr. Cedrick Gray.

“Yes. We’ve had to make some adjustments, there’s no doubt. That’s impacted everyone across the state,” said Dr. Gray.

We spoke with JPS Superintendent Cedrick Gray two weeks ago when he told us how the district planned to deal with budget cuts..

“We’ve had to trim a lot more. We’ve made sure that those cuts that they don’t directly impact the classroom,” said Dr. Gray.

But today, the state Department of Education’s Chief Academic Officer, Kim Benton, told lawmakers, many schools have a hard time finding highly qualified and effective teachers. This is exactly what JPS said they are aiming for.

“We expect better results, but we have to do something different, so attracting and retaining high quality teachers and administrators is key in that,” Dr. Gray explained. “Also, when you attract and attain them, you provide them with the content that they need, [and] the professional development they need to be better.

Lawmakers agree the educational foundation for Mississippi schools needs a thorough review.

“Well we’ve got to start doing things differently if we want better results,” Dr. Gray added.

Legislators are expected to hold hearings until November to find out if public money is being spent efficiently, and they also plan to take a look at the state tax structure.

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