Education Commission of the States is proud to announce the state of Mississippi as the 2016 recipient of the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation for a transformational education reform package that prioritized early learning reading skills, expanded charter schools opportunities and created a clear A through F rating system for schools, among other accomplishments.

Signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant in 2013, the Education Works legislation also gave incentives to Mississippi students who pledge to teach in state, increased teacher pay and channeled more funds toward education than at any time in state history.

The Magnolia State has seen clear results. Since the implementation of the Literacy Based Promotion Act of 2013, 92 percent of third-graders passed the state reading exam. Also, scores from the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the nation’s report card, showed historic jumps. Additionally, Mississippi was one of only two states to see increases in NAEP scores at both 4th and 8th grade levels.

“Reforming and modernizing our public education system to give parents and students more choice and the opportunity for better outcomes has been a priority of my administration since I first took office,” said Gov. Phil Bryant, who was elected in November 2015 to his second term. “Parents know their children best. Options – good options – should be available when it comes time to pick a school. I’m proud to say our education measures will provide those options. I thank the Education Commission of the States for recognizing Mississippi’s work to make our public education system the most innovative in America.”

Education Commission of the States Chair and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock will present the award on Thursday, June 30, at the National Forum on Education Policy in Washington, D.C.

The Frank Newman Award for State Innovation recognizes a state for any of the following:

  • Education improvement efforts that are replicable and hold valuable lessons for other states.
  • Bold and courageous policies, including existing approaches with evidence of significant impact on student achievement in the state.
  • Policies or programs that have bipartisan, broad-based support.

“The dedication we are seeing in Mississippi to improve outcomes for students of all ages is quite impressive and is absolutely paying off,” said Education Commission of the States President Jeremy Anderson. “We are honored to present them with the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation.”

For questions or additional information, contact Education Commission of the States Director of Communications Amy Skinner at or (303) 299.3609.

 PUBLISHED: May 9, 2016

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