Home » NEWS » Economic Development » BILL CRAWFORD: Mississippi LifeTracks issues first report

BILL CRAWFORD: Mississippi LifeTracks issues first report

The first special report from Mississippi LifeTracks has been published.

What, you may be asking, is Mississippi LifeTracks?

It’s a newly established, robust statewide integrated longitudinal education and workforce data system.

Right. So what is it really?

It is a data collection and innovative analysis system operated by the National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center (nSPARC) at Mississippi State University that can aggregate data from administrative records that date as far back as 2005 from all education and workforce agencies in the state.

Unh-hunh.  So, what does it do?

It gives us access to useful facts about the performance of Mississippi’s schools, community colleges, and universities, and provides statistics on Mississippi’s workforce and economy.

State Senator Angela Hill of Picayune asked LifeTracks for a report on education majors at Mississippi’s universities. It is LifeTracks’ first special report. It and others to follow will be posted to www.LifeTracks.ms.gov.

The report said an average of 2,013 individuals each year declare education as a major at Mississippi public universities. Of those, 28.7% are first-time freshmen and the remaining 71.3% are transfer students.

It said an average of 40.4% of these students (about 814) graduate with degrees in education within six years and another 15.1% (about 304) graduate with degrees in non-education majors.

It said an average of 60.3% of education graduates each year (about 490) enter the teaching profession at public or private institutions in Mississippi within five years of graduation; 85% of those (about 418) within the first year.

It said that of those who enter the teaching profession in the first year nearly three in four (76.4% or about 319) are still teaching after five years.

Those are the facts. LifeTracks does not draw conclusions, just presents facts.

That lets us – not just government agencies or politicians – draw conclusions.  For example:

It is significant that over 70% of education majors are transfer students. Other sources tell us nearly all of those transfers come from community colleges.

And, it will be hard to overcome our teacher shortage with nearly 60% of those who start education programs not completing them.

And, how much personal and public wealth is wasted on the 45% of those who enroll as education majors but don’t graduate at all?

A public board governs Mississippi LifeTracks. The board is made up of nine state agency directors, one community college president, the head of a pre-K council, and is chaired by the head of the State Workforce Investment Board, Jay Moon.

It will be interesting to see future reports. I suspect they will delve more deeply into data and yield more interesting facts. Meanwhile, Mississippi now has what the U.S. Department of Education deems as one of the best and most unique data systems in the country.


» Bill Crawford (crawfolk@gmail.com) is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.


… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.

If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.

Click for more info

About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *