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The Mississippi Reading Association is composed of educators who come together to fight illiteracy. This year, they’re huddling up on the Coast at the Beau Rivage.
Before becoming a nationally syndicated cartoonist, Marshall Ramsey remembers the impact that one teacher had on him at a young age that helped transform his life. “I had a teacher that changed my life, too. Her name was Mrs. Kaylor. She figured out I could draw, but she wanted to teach me to think also. She really helped me with my creativity and of course, now I draw editorial cartoons so I have to draw and think.”
Hundreds of Mississippi teachers gathered at the Mississippi Reading Association Conference to learn something that can light a fire in their students. Mississippi Reading Association President Elect Murray Collum said, “In the state of Mississippi, the achievement gap is maybe bigger than it has ever been and our theme this year is ‘developing the American dream through literacy’ to push actually literacy and reading in the classroom because that’s the ticket to success.”
Mississippi is 50th in national student achievement rankings and 79 percent of fourth grade students are not reading at a proficient level. Senator Brice Wiggins said, “I always say when has Mississippi ever been number one in education and of course the room is silent. In this case, we have been ranked number one in terms of high quality early education for the last two years.”
That is because in 2013, the Early Learning Collaborative Act was put into place. It provides funding to local communities to establish, expand, and support quality early childhood education and development services. Senator Wiggins tells News 25 that over a million dollars total has gone into the different collaboratives. “People say that’s because I know it’s going to early learning and into that community. We set the guidelines and the standards, but how they get there is different from each collaborative. That’s something that we could look forward to in the rest of our education policies.”


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