Today we are serving more foster children than ever. The most innocent among us who have struggled with neglect and abuse are receiving proper care. The improvements were sufficient in this first year as to compel the federal court to allow a less restrictive set of requirements and remove Mississippi from the oversight of a court monitor for the first time since 2008.
"I can assure you from personal experience, this response to dyslexia will result in direct benefits. This reading disorder is the number one reason children drop out of school. If we confront it aggressively, we can see a dramatic decrease in our state's dropout rate and help turn around our reading scores for thousands of Mississippi children.
"This year, we must also do all in our power to help children with special needs. The Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act will empower parents with educational choice to get their children the services they need. When only 22.5% of special needs children graduate from high school, something is terribly wrong. I call on you to send this bill to my desk. Mississippi children with special needs, and their parents, deserve nothing less."
We have started making a difference. According to the annual report of the Mississippi State Department of Health, our state's teen pregnancy rate declined by 10.3% in 2012.
I believe we have also done an admirable job in protecting our children, both born and unborn. By strengthening the Child Protection Act and by requiring that abortionists obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals, we are protecting women's health. But let me be clear, on this unfortunate anniversary of Roe versus Wade, my goal is to end abortion in Mississippi.
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