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University of Mississippi Plans to Develop Early-Education Curriculum

There's good news for the future of early-childhood education coming out of Mississippi, one of the few states that doesn't fund a prekindergarten program.

The University of Mississippi's school of education announced Wednesday that it is planning to use a new $1.1 million grant to develop a master's degree program as well as undergraduate courses in prekindergarten education for next fall. Students who take the courses while earning a bachelor's degree in education would qualify for an endorsement in early-childhood education from the Mississippi Department of Education, according to a university news release.

Those who earn a master's degree or the endorsement would be qualified to work with preschool and elementary school students, according to a news report.

The university said it plans to hire three faculty specialists in prekindergarten education to help create the new courses and master's degree program.

The grant is among five totaling more than $5.7 million given to the school of education by the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation in Jackson. The rest of the money will be spent on enhancing existing programs in literacy instruction and mathematics and science education, and increasing participation in the Mississippi Teachers Corps, which addresses teacher shortages in critical-needs public schools, and Principal Corps, a 13-month program of graduate study and on-the-job training.

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