Mississippi Education Council

By: Mike McDaniel
By: Mike McDaniel

They're made up of folks from the business, education and government sectors and all of them have one common goal. That goal is getting K through 12th grade students ready for college and college students ready for the workforce.

"We know we don't have unlimited resources, in fact, we have very limited resources. So, the idea was that we could share best practices across the system," said commissioner of the Institutions of Higher Learning, Dr. Hank Bounds.

The members make up the Mississippi Education Achievement Council. Set up by the legislature in 2010, they're charged with establishing achievement goals for the state's community colleges and universities.

Bounds says over the last four years, funding for those institutions has gone down by 20 percent, leaving them to do more with less.

"When you look at the numbers, every year, for more than a decade, we've seen an increase in enrollment. Every year, for more than a decade, we've seen an increase in the number of graduates being produced," said Bounds.

Even with more graduates, the state still has work to do. Associate commissioner for Academic and Student Affairs, Dr. Alfred Rankins, says Mississippi currently ranks at the bottom as far as the number of citizens with a bachelor's degree.

That, he says, has a tremendous economic impact on the state.

"We need to have more citizens here educated in our state and the work through this council is very critical in getting us to where we need to be here in our state," said Rankins.

"The more educated folk that we put into the workforce, the better and stronger our economy will be," said Bounds.

The council will soon be putting out its first report card for all state colleges and universities. Bounds says it'll be a snapshot of how they're doing.

"It'll also be an opportunity for us to really look more closely at the data and make certain that we're doing all the things that we should do to make certain more students cross the finish line," said Bounds.

The council expects to have the report card issued within the next month or two


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