WASHINGTON — Former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove has been appointed to serve on the National Assessment Governing Board, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today. The Democratic leader joins former Wyoming Gov. James Geringer, a Republican, as an appointee to the Governing Board. Their terms will end on September 30, 2017
The Governing Board sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as The Nation’s Report Card. NAEP makes objective information on student performance in nearly a dozen subjects available to policymakers and the public at the national, state and district levels. The assessment has played an important role in evaluating the condition and progress of U.S. achievement in education since 1969. The designated governor positions on the independent, nonpartisan 26-member Governing Board are specified by federal law and are open to current and former governors.
Gov. Musgrove previously served as a Governing Board member from 2001 to 2004. He also stayed connected with the Governing Board and NAEP through his recent service as chair of the Governing Board’s NAEP 12th Grade Preparedness Commission, which was created to increase awareness of the importance of preparing students academically for postsecondary education or training for employment after high school, as measured by NAEP.
“We are delighted to have Ronnie join the Board again, especially after his invaluable service in our preparedness work,” Governing Board Chair David Driscoll said. “He has demonstrated commitment and excellence in public service, in particular through his work in education.”
Gov. Musgrove was the 61st governor of Mississippi, serving from 2000 to 2004. Before becoming governor, he practiced law in rural Batesville, Miss., providing legal counsel for small-town businesses, local schools and area hospitals. He then moved into the political arena, first as a state senator, then lieutenant governor, and, in 1999, as the governor elected in the closest gubernatorial race in Mississippi history. While in office, Gov. Musgrove spearheaded several initiatives, including a new jobs program and a 2000 economic development package that was key to Mississippi’s selection as the home for the $1.4 billion Nissan Motor Company production plant.
Education, however, was an area in which Gov. Musgrove put special focus. As the lieutenant governor, he championed the Adequate Education Act that ensured proper funding for public schools throughout Mississippi. In July 2001, as governor, he signed a bill raising teacher pay in Mississippi to the Southeastern average. In 2002, the National Governors Association confirmed that Mississippi became the first state in the nation to have an Internet-accessible computer in every classroom.
Since leaving office, Gov. Musgrove has served on the faculty of the University of Mississippi and Mississippi College School of Law, while also chairing the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services and the Mississippi Center for Legal Services Advisory Group. He is also the senior policy scholar in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has served on several other boards and committees in education and health.
Born and raised in Tocowa, Miss., and now residing in Madison, Miss., Gov. Musgrove is a graduate of Northwest Mississippi Community College, the University of Mississippi, and The University of Mississippi School of Law
Congress established the 26-member Governing Board in 1988 to oversee NAEP. Among many other duties, the Governing Board — made up of state legislators, local and state school officials, educators and researchers, business representatives and members of the general public as well as governors–determines the subjects to be tested, test content, and achievement levels for each test, and works to inform the public about NAEP results.
Gov. Musgrove takes office as the Governing Board and is involved in several important initiatives. They include NAEP parent engagement, with a focus on conveying the urgency of closing achievement gaps and improving student performance; innovative computer-based NAEP assessments; and a research program to determine how NAEP can be used as an indicator of 12th grade academic preparedness. Initial results on the academic preparedness of 12th graders as measured by NAEP will be released this spring.