White students in Tupelo score better than white students in most Mississippi school districts on state tests. Black students in Tupelo lag far behind.
That discrepancy is a major reason that a school system once considered among the finest in Mississippi is now ranked in the middle of the state. Addressing it quickly is critical for the city and school district to maintain their historic success.
"It is tremendously important to the future of this community," said Jack Reed Sr., longtime community leader and education advocate. "There is no underestimating that."
The "achievement gap" is not unique to Tupelo. School districts across the state and the nation face discrepancies in test scores between students of different racial and economic subgroups.