FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 23, 2005

EDUCATION AND BUSINESS LEADERS SHOW SUPPORT FOR GOVERNOR BARBOUR’S “UPGRADE” EDUCATION REFORM AGENDA

(Jackson, Miss.) – The Mississippi Economic Council, Mississippi Department of Education, State Board of Community and Junior Colleges, Institutes of Higher Learning and others garnered their support for Governor Haley Barbour’s “UpGrade” education package today - a comprehensive set of education reform proposals that the House is considering this week.

“This Administration has put a lot of work and thought into these proposals and sought counsel from thousands of education, business, and community leaders across the state. It is a great compliment to our collective efforts when you have all of our education entities and members of the business community backing these common sense reforms,” said Governor Barbour. “Even in times of budget woes, it is important that education remain a top priority for state government.”

The package is highlighted by proposals to liberate Level 4 and 5 schools in Mississippi from state bureaucracy, give teachers and entire schools raises based on increases in student learning and performance, redesign high schools to better prepare students for college and work, privatize non-education functions, require more parental involvement in school discipline problems, and give incentives to child care centers that offer more learning opportunities for pre-school children.

“The Governor held several education forums this fall and has heard from teachers, administrators, legislators, business leaders and parents about the fundamental needs of our education system. These recommendations have led to a comprehensive and sustainable plan,” said Blake Wilson, Executive Director of the Mississippi Economic Council. “We need to focus on the most critical and urgent needs in our schools and make them our top priority.”

“‘UpGrade’ is about empowering local leaders and communities to be free of state bureaucracy so they can innovate and upgrade student achievement in their schools,” said Governor Barbour. “It is time for Mississippi to start focusing on education fundamentals and not just education funding. I do appreciate the support of these leaders standing with me today. There is no problem we can’t solve by working together.”

 


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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741