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Governor speaks out on education reform highlights

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Governor Bryant visited Columbia Friday to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Citizens bank. While in town the Governor wanted to highlight the recent legislative home runs on education reform.

With Mississippi's recent legislative session dubbed the education session Governor Bryant says many objectives were met. "We started the year talking about this was going to be transformational change for educational systems and we passed a good charter schools bill and we've never had charter schools in Mississippi."

Charter schools were a controversial issue that required heavy debate, "You're local school district has to approve them. There's no more than 15 charter school districts that will be available across the state, but mainly these are where they should be, the failing school districts to give parents a choice as to where their children can go to school."

Students being passed on to higher grades despite remedial deficiencies had to be addressed. Bryant says, "The third grade gate as we call it which means if you can't read at a 3rd grade level we're not going to socially promote you to the fourth grade. We're going to put reading coaches and intervene in those failing school districts."

Bryant says educating a great workforce is impossible without great teaching. "Where really good teachers who change the lives of their students can get more money. We've got a pilot program this year that will begin with merit pay. Children who want to become teachers will be able to apply for a scholarship. If you make a 28 on your ACT you can actually get a scholarship funded for teaching school, a free ride as we call it"

Bryant says strengthening our schools, strengthens Mississippi. "We'll have a transformational change on education in Mississippi so that we can have the workforce of the future that we must have to continue to build economic development in Mississippi."