In 2002, Florida adopted a phonics based reading strategy due to Charlie Crist. Scores started to rise. Other southern states started to following suit, including Mississippi long deried as the worst in the nation.
APNews: Mississippi went from being ranked the second-worst state in 2013 for fourth-grade reading to 21st in 2022. Louisiana and Alabama, meanwhile, were among only three states to see modest gains in fourth-grade reading during the pandemic, which saw massive learning setbacks in most other states.
Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-