The Mississippi Department of Education reports there are 442,122 students enrolled in the state, with 31,856 classroom teachers. There are 140 school districts. Public school enrollment has declined, with 25,489 children currently homeschooled.
Mississippi families have several types of schools to choose from. The state is home to traditional public schools, charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, homeschool, learning pods, and online schools. Mississippi also offers some open enrollment policies for school districts, meaning that families may send their children to a public school outside their district of residence. However, individual school districts get to decide their own open enrollment policy. The state only requires that school districts have open enrollment for children who live 30 miles or more away from their district school. If families wish to send their children to private school, they will have to pay tuition, but the state offers some scholarship programs to children with special needs.
Mississippi has made steady improvements in education in recent years. The graduation rate for 2021 was over 87%, higher than the national average of 86% in the same year. The dropout rate has declined in the past five years. In 2016, it was at 11.8%, and in 2021, it went down to 8.8%. Mississippi’s national ranking has improved, having risen from the low of #50 to #39 out of all states. Mississippi ranks first in the nation for most improvement in 4th-grade reading and math scores.