When the Mississippi Department of Education released its plan for accountability, parents wrote letters of protest. The Parents’ Campaign organized the protest. The state made some changes to mollify the protest but will continue to rate schools based primarily on measures that reflect family income and demographics rather than evaluating the challenges schools confront and whether they have the resources to deal with their needs. The accountability system is premised on the infallibility of standardized tests, whose results are closely coordinated with family income.

The Parent’s Campaign

After receiving 139 comments from parents, educators, and concerned citizens, the State Board of Education has voted to adopt several changes to the rules that govern the accountability system that determines school and district ratings. I am proud to say that the majority of respondents were parents. Thank you for being attentive and for speaking up for our children and our public schools when you saw something of concern! We are grateful to the board for seeking and heeding the input of parents and educators.

The rules adopted by the board today require the use of cut scores, not percentiles, to determine school ratings. That is in line with what concerned citizens advocated in their comments, and it is in line with the clarification statement that was distributed by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE). You can see the complete newly adopted Statewide Accountability System rules and the public comments that were submitted here.

Adopted changes in the Accountability System business rules include:

changes in the grade classifications component – school and district ratings (section 1)

changes in the growth component* (section 6)

changes in the acceleration component (section 9)

a retraction of the change in the College and Career Readiness component – Senior Snapshot will continue to be used (section 25)

*We support this new change to the growth component that will give credit to schools for students who show improvement within the “passing” achievement level.

After consulting with their attorneys, MDE officials determined that the difference between what was posted for public comment (use of percentiles) and what was outlined in the department’s clarification the following week (intent to use cut scores) was not substantial enough to require a new round of public comments. Therefore, the board was able to vote today on final adoption of changes to the system.

Thanks again for speaking up! Mississippi children are so very fortunate to have you in their corner. Together, we’ve got this.

222 North President Street, Suite 102
Jackson, Mississippi 39201
Phone 601.961.4551