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Mississippi prepares new push on education

3 years 4 months 3 weeks ago May 07, 2013 May 7, 2013 Tuesday, May 07 2013 May 07, 2013 7:29 AM in News

CLARKSDALE, Miss. - Mississippi Republicans are making a new turn in long-running efforts to improve the state's education system.

Gov. Phil Bryant has signed measures easing charter school creation and holding back third-graders who can't read. The Republican controlled Legislature also approved state-funded prekindergarten and higher qualifications and merit pay for teachers.

Bryant says the changes, many of which he pushed, will improve what he calls a "fairly ineffective educational system." By many measures, Mississippi has shown improvement in recent decades, but still lags behind.

The changes come atop existing improvement efforts in places like Clarksdale, a town in the state's Delta region which struggles with poverty and falling population.

Superintendent Dennis Dupree has adopted efforts to create a stronger high school curriculum, pay teachers based on achievement and create preschool programs.

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