Biloxi Schools Strive for Success Despite Low Funding Levels

Wednesday, Biloxi school officials spoke to the business community about the state of education in Mississippi and how Biloxi High School students are moving toward success.

The Biloxi School District is seeing a number of high school students taking advantage of both AP classes and dual credit courses, which allow students the opportunity to receive college credit. Dr. Karen Norwood, Assistant Superintendent of the Biloxi School District, says, "We are very proud that we can offer so many and that a student can leave with those kind of college experiences."

The main message from Wednesday morning’s state of education meeting was that secondary education is flourishing, especially in Biloxi, but statewide, pre-k is not at the same level. Last week, it was announced that for the third time, Mississippi was passed over a federal pre-school grant that would have tripled the number of children enrolled in early education classes. Cynthia Minton-Walker, Project Director for South Mississippi PreK4ward, says, "The Department of Ed in Washington has said to our folks, ‘We know the need is overwhelming in Mississippi, but until we get the commitment that your state is investing itself.’ They don’t want to shoot into the night."

For the past two years, Mississippi has put just $3 million each year into pre-k, which only provides funding for under 1,000 students throughout the state. Minton-Walker closes, "We are hopeful that funding is going to one day find its way into our state. Our children deserve that and we believe that more adults here should be supporting to get our kids undergirded with education that’ll make their lives different for them in the future."

PreK4ward provides free pre-k for about 140 students along the Coast. The program receives no state and federal money and is funded for privately by the community.

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