The Senate today passed two bills helping teachers enter the profession—and stay in the profession—in Mississippi. The legislation next heads to the House for consideration.
Senate Bill 2267, authored by Education Chairman Dennis DeBar, requires the State Department of Education to issue a Mississippi license to any teacher who has a valid out-of-state license within 14 days of receipt of the application. Teachers receiving reciprocity would still be subject to a background check before being hired by a district under a separate statute.
Senate Bill 2305, authored by Senator David Blount, provides annual grants to new teachers to pay down student loan debt. The grants would increase incrementally over a three-year period and would be paid directly to the teacher’s loan provider at the end of their contractual teaching year, with those teaching in a critical needs shortage area receiving a larger amount.
In all, teachers in a school district not designated as a critical needs shortage area could receive up to $10,500. Teachers in districts designated as critical needs shortage areas could receive up to $16,500. The average student loan debt in Mississippi is about $36,000.
“Last year, we made it easier for students to enter teacher education preparation programs at our universities. This year, we are tackling pay and licensure hurdles,” Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann said. “These are targeted efforts aimed at ending the teacher shortage in our state.”
Chairman DeBar agreed.
“Attracting more properly trained people to the profession and then keeping them in the classroom is imperative to continuing to improve academic achievement, especially as we recover from the pandemic,” he said. “We want our educators in Mississippi to know we value them by reducing unnecessary barriers to becoming a teacher.”
To view Senate Bill 2267, visit http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2021/pdf/history/SB/SB2267.xml. To view Senate Bill 2305, visit http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2021/pdf/history/SB/SB2305.xml.
To learn more about Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann, visit www.ltgovhosemann.ms.gov.