During the 2019 campaign, Reeves outlined seven goals to raise teacher pay. State mainstream media and public education advocates largely ignored the Reeves plan.
The Governor’s plan included:
- Raising teacher starting salaries to the regional average.
- Recruiting new teachers to critical shortage areas.
- Paying Mississippi National Board teachers the highest supplement in the nation and becoming the #1 per capita ranked state for National Board Certified Teachers.
- Increasing pay & innovation at higher education institutions.
- Doubling investment in Teacher Supply Funds again.
- Increasing investment in Early Learning Collaboratives.
- Creating a Teacher Advisory Council.
Reeves reiterated his commitment to investing in teachers in his Inaugural address, a pledge yet again overlooked by the mainstream media and public school advocates.
“I am committed to elevating our public schools. That means a pay raise for every teacher – and a new mission to give us more national board certified teachers per capita than any state in the nation,” the Governor said. “You will note that I did not say more than anyone in the Mid-South. I didn’t say number one in the Southeast. I said number one in the nation.”
“It is a goal we can achieve – and one worth achieving,” Reeves stressed.
To bring Mississippi teacher pay to the regional average is a $224 million lift.
As for National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs), Reeves has proposed a $4,000 increase to the supplement, raising it from $6,000 to $10,000.
Mississippi’s 13.7% NBCTs is already 4th in the nation, according to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards December 2019 comparative analysis. North Carolina sits at the top with 22.6% of their teachers certified.
The current Mississippi supplement for NBCTs is already at the top end of the spectrum across the country. Gov. Reeves’ additional $4,000 would exceed all initial annual stipends nationally.
Reeves also wants to pay teachers to successfully complete components of the National Board certification while working with the NBCT program to create an endowment that would prevent teachers from having to pay upfront costs.
While it may seem simple pocketbook politics for teachers, there’s evidence that it clearly impacts student outcomes.
A 2017 study led by Mississippi State University showed that on average kindergarten and third-grade students with a National Board Certified reading teacher in the classroom perform at a significantly higher level on literacy assessments than their peers.
If these efforts are successful, Mississippi’s teachers could see a major investment made into them over the next four years under Governor Reeves. More importantly, Mississippi student outcomes will continue their upward trends.