Rather than mention low teacher pay and high illiteracy rates, Tuck boasted about a literary heritage that includes William Faulkner, Richard Wright and Eudora Welty.
Rather than dwell on a difficult history of race relations, she talked about civil rights icons like Medgar Evers and Fannie Lou Hamer.
Tuck spoke during a Statehood Day event the Old Capitol Museum, telling fourth graders in the audience that they'll shape the future.
Mississippi became the 20th state on Dec. 10, 1817.
It was the second southern state to try to leave the union. Mississippi issued its secession declaration in January 1861, three months before the start of the Civil War.