Advocate: Focus on teacher training

In the world’s top-performing countries there have been reforms targeted to improving teaching.

“Getting into the teacher education programs in those countries is like getting into medical school,” Loome said. “They are very, very selective about who they will allow to enter into their teacher education programs.”

In top-performing countries where pay is an issue, teachers’ salaries are on par with professionals in other fields such as medicine and engineering, she said. The school year and school days are also typically longer than in U.S. schools.

“I think we want to get there, and I think it’s worth the investment,” she said.

The group’s education reform agenda, which Loome detailed Wednesday to The Clarion-Ledger, also includes reforming university-based teacher education, improving early education, strategically authorizing charter schools, improving school and district leadership and increasing school funding.

The group is pushing for a $150 million increase in state funds and to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program by the end of the 2014 legislative session.

Clarion Ledger