For Mississippi to be first, we must raise our learning standards to match those of leading states across the country. Common Core State Standards enable our children to finally compete with their peers nationwide in literacy and math. The standards bring our students to a higher level than we have ever had before in Mississippi.

We know Mississippi students can rise to the challenge, but it will not be easy. The standards require more critical thinking and less rote memorization. Everyone–teachers, parents, and students–will have to work together to make this transition. By helping our students work harder for their success today, we will help them be more prepared for what waits for them beyond the classroom tomorrow.

Politics is never so ugly as when adults score points from each other at the expense of children. Choosing higher standards is not about what politicians are doing or saying in Washington, D.C. It is not about politics as usual in Mississippi, either. Higher standards are a Mississippi choice to no longer be last. If we want what is best for all students, it is our responsibility to keep moving towards higher standards no matter how long or hard the road is–or what seems politically expedient today. We must choose excellence for our students every time.

Mississippi First is a 501c3 public policy non-profit specializing in education reform. Over the past year, MSF has been involved in developing Mississippi’s charter school and preK policies, informing the public about Common Core State Standards, and assisting with implementing evidence-based sex education.

For more information about Mississippi First, visit To learn more about the Common Core State Standards, read our Frequently Asked Questions and Fact or Fiction documents. Both documents can be found on


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