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Nearly one quarter of Mississippi public school students attend a failing school

HQ: The Mississippi Department of Education released its 2017 accountability grades last week. Photo by Steve Wilson

Nearly one quarter of Mississippi students enrolled in public schools are attending one that received a failing grade.

According to an examination of data from the 2017 accountability grades issued by the Mississippi Department of Education and enrollment numbers, 24.57 percent of the state's 477,633 students enrolled in public school attend one rated by the MDE as a D or an F.

Of the students from failing schools, 9.07 percent of them (43,331) attend schools with a grade of F, while more than 15.5 percent (73,407) are enrolled at schools that earned a D grade.

Out of 893 public schools in the state, 274 of them (30.7 percent ) earned failing grades. That's four less than last year.

The numbers are worse for districts, as 26.29 percent of public school students attend school in a failing district. Nine districts earned failing grades last year, but that number ballooned to 21 out of 147 districts statewide this year.

There were 28 districts that earned D grades, down from 36 in 2017.

The Jackson Public School District was given an F grade, with 38 of its 54 schools earn a failing grade and 76.1 percent of its students attend a failing school.

Even highly-rated school districts, such as Rankin County which earned a A district grade, had some failing individual schools. Four out of Rankin County's 27 schools — McLaurin Attendance Center, Pelahatchie Attendance Center, Puckett Attendance Center and Richland High School — were hit with D grades.

The state's largest school district is DeSoto County and two schools — Horn Lake High and Olive Branch Intermediate — received D grades from the MDE. The district received an A grade.

The accountability grades are partially based on the performance of students and the annual progress made on the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program tests for English language arts and mathematics, which are administered annually to students in the third through eighth grades and in high school.

Also figured into the accountability grades are the four-year graduation rate, student performance on biology, U.S. history and ACT tests, and student participation and performance in advanced coursework such as Advanced Placement.

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