Robert Davidson

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State Falls Short Of Reading Coach Goal

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – State education officials will hire only 24 reading coaches and coordinators for the coming school year, falling far short of their goal of 75.

The coaches are the key personnel in the state’s effort to meet legislative mandates that all third-graders read at a basic level by 2015 or be flunked.

The state Board of Education is likely to approve hiring the employees Friday. Most will be effectively loaned to the state from local school districts as educators-in-residence.

Interim State Superintendent Lynn House says that although more than 500 people applied for the slots, state officials could only identify 24 people with the right skills.

Some districts are using their own money to hire additional coaches, after being pushed by the state to divert federal aid to improve reading instruction.