Gazebo Gazette

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) released today the 2021-22 school year graduation and dropout rates, which reflect the highest statewide graduation rate of 88.9% and a statewide dropout rate of 9%.

Rates are based on students who entered ninth grade for the first time during the 2018-19 school year. Among students with disabilities, the graduation rate increased to 67.1%, and the dropout rate was 19.3%.

MDE’s latest figures mark a continuing positive trend for Mississippi’s students. The statewide graduation rate was 74.5% in 2014 and has increased annually. The statewide dropout has decreased from 13.9% in 2014.

The current dropout rate figures reflect a .5% increase from 2020-21 and a .9% increase among students with disabilities. The graduation rate does not include students who earn a GED or a certificate of completion or who are still enrolled in their fifth year of high school. There were fewer students in those categories in 2021-22 than the previous year, which attributed to the increased dropout rate.

Mississippi’s graduation rate exceeds the latest U.S. rate of 86.5% from 2019-20 reported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

“I’m proud of Mississippi’s students and educators for reaching another historic graduation rate milestone,” said Dr. Robert Taylor, state superintendent of education. “The MDE will continue to provide essential services and support for all students to stay in school and graduate to achieve academic and career success.”

High school students can earn an endorsement with their high school diploma. Starting in ninth grade, students choose whether they want to work toward a traditional diploma, or take additional classes to earn an academic, distinguished academic or career and technical education endorsement. Students can earn more than one endorsement.

For the third time since I became governor, Mississippi’s graduation rate has reached an all-time high. Mississippi isn’t just in the best fiscal and financial shape in our state’s history – we’re also in the best educational shape in our state’s history and performing better than the national average, “stated Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves. “The conservative education reforms we fought so hard for over the years are working. Couple this with keeping our kids in the classroom while other states relied on virtual learning, and you can see how we got to this historic achievement. Kudos to the teachers for stepping up and going back into the classroom, and kudos to the parents for playing an active role in their kids’ education.”

Each diploma option prepares students to be successful after graduation, whether in the workforce, a career and technical training program, the military or college.

Students who earn an academic or distinguished academic diploma endorsement from a public high school automatically qualify for admission into any of the state’s public universities. The endorsement opportunity was phased in during the 2018-19 school year and was fully implemented at the end of 2021-22.