JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) announced the state held its education ranking of 39th in the country in 2021.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual KIDS COUNT 2021 Data Boo looked at how children across the United States were faring before and during the coronavirus pandemic. Overall, Mississippi ranked 50th in the nation for child well-being, which tracks four domains: economic well-being, health, family and community, and education. Education was the only domain that ranked above 50th in 2021.

KIDS COUNT ranks education by measuring pre-K enrollment, fourth-grade reading skills, eighth-grade math proficiency, and the high school graduation rate.

Pre-K enrollment in Mississippi’s Early Learning Collaboratives has grown from 1,700 in 2014-2015 to more than 3,000 in 2020-21. The state’s graduation rate reached an all-time high of 87.7% in 2021, exceeding the most recent national rate of 85%.

“Mississippi students, teachers, and schools achieved historic academic gains before the pandemic and have not let up on their pursuit of higher academic achievement,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “Education in Mississippi continues to be a bright spot among the indicators of child well-being.”