Reeves says teacher pay is critical for long term success in addressing teacher shortage.
In the 50-page report released by Reeves from the Mississippi Governor’s Human Capital Task Force it details how leaders in Mississippi should collaborate to reform and improve teacher pay as well as expanding the opportunities to the profession, and provide support for new and experienced teachers.
A copy of the report can be found here.
Currently the state reports teacher shortages at all grade levels for the 2021-22 school year. Those subjects specifically lacking qualified teachers include mathematics, science, special education and world languages.
Up to 45% of teachers in the South leave the field before completing their fifth year in the classroom according to the report. They cite many reasons for the departure that include poor working conditions, lack of support, overwhelming stress, and inadequate pay and benefits.
“Teachers play a critical role in the long-term success of our state and country, and my administration will be unwavering in its commitment to ensuring they have what’s needed to teach the next generation of leaders,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “First things first, teachers deserve a raise and I’ll do everything in my power to ensure it happens quickly.”
The task force includes teachers, local school superintendents, education professors and deans, a university president, state Board of Education members, State Superintendent of Education Carey Wright and other Mississippi Department of Education representatives, the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, the Mississippi Community College Foundation and the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.
Key recommendations from the report include:
- Improve pathways and preparation for teachers
- Create more formal teacher residencies to provide future educators with real classroom experience and ensure all pathways into the profession are held to the same high standards.
- Provide college-tuition breaks or loan forgiveness for future teachers.
- Develop marketing campaigns to attract students into teaching — showing how they can enter the field and why the profession matters.
- Build a new system to evaluate and show teacher-preparation program quality in the state’s colleges and universities.
- Ensure that future teachers gain more experience in real classrooms, incorporate the latest technology, and nurture students’ social and emotional health.
- Convene all two- and four-year colleges to agree on transferable education courses and establish a path for future teachers that starts in community colleges.
- Launch an introductory education course for dual enrollment high school students that all Mississippi two- and four-year colleges recognize.
- Strengthen support for teachers throughout their careers
- Integrate support programs for new and experienced teachers and high-quality professional development into the licensing system.
- Build a new teacher license structure that allows advancement, expands leadership opportunities, and offers the potential for higher salaries.
- Raise teacher compensation to professional levels
- Increase salaries and benefits to attract the highest-caliber candidates.
- Develop a new minimum statewide salary structure — with regular cost-of-living raises and incentive pay for teacher-leaders in low socioeconomic school districts.
Those on the task force also urged leadership to work on a statewide longitudinal data system to monitor student progress from childhood to the workforce.
Below is a list of members who sit on The Mississippi Governor’s Education Human Capital Task Force
- Tate Reeves, Governor
- Dr. Richard Blackbourn, former Dean of Education, Mississippi State University
- Dr. Ben Burnett, Dean of Education, William Carey University
- Dr. Debra Burson, Bureau Director, Educator Preparation, Mississippi Department of Education
- Kelly Butler, Chief Executive Officer, Barksdale Reading Institute
- Glen East, Superintendent of Education, Gulfport School District
- Dr. Karen Elam, Member, Mississippi State Board of Education
- LaJeremy Hughes, Elementary Teacher, Della Davidson Elementary, Oxford School District
- Dr. Teresa Jayroe, Dean of Education, Mississippi State University
- Audra Love Dean, Assistant Executive Director for Academic and Student Affairs, Mississippi Community College Board
- Heather Morrison, Director, P-20 Partnerships, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning
- Dr. Cory Murphy, Executive Director, Teaching and Leading, Mississippi Department of Education
- Dr. Felecia Nave, President, Alcorn State University
- Dr. David Rock, Dean, School of Education, University of Mississippi
- Robin Stewart, Director, Office of Job Connections, Mississippi Department of Employment Security
- Sara Stygles, Lead Teacher, Oak Grove Middle School, Lamar County School District
- Lillie Bryant Sweazy, Secondary Teacher, Natchez High School, Natchez-Adams School District
- Jackie Turner, Executive Director, Mississippi Department of Employment Security
- Dr. Carey Wright, State Superintendent of Education