Sunday, September 26, 2021

Bill Crawford: Teacher pay increases alone not enough

Ever since Gov. Tate Reeves changed course during his 2019 election campaign and proposed major pay increases for teachers, those teachers have been watching for state Republican leaders to deliver.

Maybe that’s about to happen.

On the same day the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Republican Sen. Dennis DeBar of Leakesville, considered pay raises, Reeves released a report calling for significant increases and more. Apparently, the only coordination of the two events was the involvement of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), an education research organization serving 16 southern states from Texas to Delaware.

The SREB presented data to the Senate committee, as reported by Mississippi Today, showing Mississippi trails the region and nation in most teacher pay measures, particularly for starting and mid-career teachers. In addition, committee members discussed the high costs of the state’s retirement plan for teachers in comparison to other states.

The SREB also informed and coordinated a report issued by the Governor’s Education Human Capital Task Force, a panel consisting of university, community college, state department of education, and state employment professionals plus three teachers, one superintendent, and the head of the Barksdale Reading Institute. The Governor is listed as a member too.

The panel’s comprehensive study “Addressing Mississippi’s Teacher Shortage: A Collaborative Action Plan” found a lack of “well-prepared, effective teachers” and too many “inexperienced, underprepared, and ill-equipped” teachers serving Mississippi students. It also reported a growing “lack of interest in the profession” and serious retention problems.

The study proposed a comprehensive solution including complex licensure changes, intensive teacher support in schools, improvements in college and university teacher preparation, and increased teacher pay. 

This is seen as a move by Reeves to deliver on his campaign promise. The Senate committee action seems to support Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann’s commitment to teacher pay increases. Speaker of the House Philip Gunn has been on record supporting teacher pay increases.

So, raises look promising, but, there’s always a but, some legislators say the cost of substantial teacher pay increases would make elimination of the state personal income tax a no go. Both Gunn and Reeves want to do away with the tax.

And pay raises alone are not enough, as the SREB report notes, to solve teacher shortages, particularly teacher retention. “Challenging working conditions, including lack of support, overwhelming stress, and inadequate pay and benefits,” were cited as reasons why teachers leave the profession. Not cited were issues such as difficulties in passing the required PRAXIS exam, burdensome student testing, too many dilapidated facilities, unruly student behavior, concerns about safety, and weak administrators.

Much to be done if we want good schools. 

But maybe our politicians are coming to realize we can’t expect our teachers to be smart enough to pass the PRAXIS exam and master curriculum content, talented enough to effectively teach that content to students with a wide array of competencies and motivations, emotionally equipped and sufficiently trained to engage students and maintain classroom discipline, and yet work in highly stressful environments for little pay for years on end. 

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act” – Proverbs 3:27.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson. 


Anonymous said...

Y'all ain't seen the football since kickoff..

Anonymous said...

Making promises to historically liberal special interest groups, teachers in this case, is a tried and true method to get votes from the other side of the aisle.

It worked.

Anonymous said...

And pay raises alone are not enough, as the SREB report notes, to solve teacher shortages, particularly teacher retention. “Challenging working conditions, including lack of support, overwhelming stress, and inadequate pay and benefits,” were cited as reasons why teachers leave the profession. Not cited were issues such as difficulties in passing the required PRAXIS exam, burdensome student testing, too many dilapidated facilities, unruly student behavior, concerns about safety, and weak administrators.

It is obvious those conducting the study have no effing idea what they are talking about!! What in the hell do they think causes "challenging working conditions, including lack of support, overwhelming stress..."?!?

Ask ANY teacher in MS today and they will tell you it's caused by "unruly student behavior," "weak administrators," and "burdensome student testing." All of which the study said weren't cited. (This statement alone proves the study was a complete and utter waste of money.)

I've said this here before... EVERY SINGLE TEACHER that I know leaving the profession is doing so over student behavior (which always involves horrific parenting) and weak administration (because we cannot hurt any feelings over the reality of Johnny's behavior issues.) More teachers are outright leaving the profession than are leaving MS due to pay. Obviously, teachers want more pay, but that is NOT the reason practicing teachers are leaving the classroom.

When politicians want to throw more money at education, they shout about teacher pay. How about those same politicians, whose policies have created these monster behavior issues, STAND UP TO the communities causing the biggest problems? How about you hold PARENTS accountable for their lack of involvement in education? How about you hold parents receiving all these handouts and subsidies accountable for the non-existent stability in these children's home lives?

Anonymous said...

Very few MS teachers are actually competent in teaching their subjects. Many major in Education, which teaches you how to make lesson plans and create bulletin boards for 3rd graders.

The teachers that can actually teach and understand their subjects deserve a huge raise. But unfortunately, the teachers unions have made it where the most incompetent teacher gets the same pay as the best.

Pay these teachers for performance and ability to do their jobs.

The bad ones should be banished.

Anonymous said...

Higher ups know that if you actually taught all subjects with any fraction of accountability, 30% of Mississippi's students would be "held back" as they used to say. Therefore, schools would lose millions, and yes - parents would cry to the news stations about how unfair and racist it is.

Anonymous said...

Is any weight given to the amount of support given by the parental side of the education equation? You can have a saddle and tack, but without a horse you are walking, not riding.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at the administrative cost in the “public” schools versus those in the Private sector. It wouldn’t hurt to look at the money wasted in out of town (out of state) meetings in public vs. private schools.

Anonymous said...

@12:22p- You obviously do not hold an education degree. The education programs are separate based on elementary standards and secondary standards. Most secondary degrees are subject based. No, elementary education majors do not learn how to make 3rd grade bulletin boards in college. What a stupid thing to say!! Now, if you want to argue that the majority of emergency licensed teachers aren’t equipped, then you’d have a valid argument.

Those who complete education majors at reputable colleges ARE prepared to teach. They are NOT PREPARED to deal with the nightmare social issues of student behavior (and parents) thrust upon them. They are NOT equipped to deal with ignorant parents who believe their children do no wrong.

Your performance theory is flawed… want to know what happens to the most capable and experienced teacher when ONE CHILD enjoys shrieking and acting a fool multiple times a day in class? That teacher is CONSTANTLY disrupted, along with her other 20+ students. The problem child is sent to the office, where counselors and administrators dote on the child trying to bribe the child into good behavior. The child returns to the classroom, doesn’t feel like learning, knows an outburst gets him said bribes from front office, and repeats the process. The teacher loses 50% or more of teaching time over one child. In the meantime, guess what happens to the class scores?? They plummet. Not because the teacher isn’t a good teacher, but because the teacher cannot actually teach due to this ONE KID. Now back to those administrators, guess what they DON’T want to do? They don’t want to actually document the behavior, which would escalate this child to alternative school with an environment better suited for his foolishness, because district frowns upon too many kids being sent to alternative school… so let’s send ZERO. Meanwhile, this veteran teacher, who now dreads walking into the school house each day, is OVER IT and leaves the profession. It’s a horrific vicious cycle that you cannot understand if you haven’t lived it!

Anonymous said...

Have any teachers been in the school room this year?
When the kids are the dumbest in the U.S. teachers should not need a raise.
If we ever get off the bottom of the list they might get a raise.
No one gives raises to people who fail at their job.

Anonymous said...

1:27- There are many teachers in my family. So yes, I have seen both the good and bad of the occupation.

While you are correct that the schools have to deal with societies issues and bad/non-existent parenting, you refuse to see how many bad teachers there are. As a person that was underserved by public schools when I was a student, I made sure my kids wouldn’t have to deal with the incompetent teachers that I had to endure.

From your frantic and emotional reply, it seems like you are the type that can’t be bothered with facts.

I think GOOD teachers need raises. But the unions have done away with individual accomplishments when it comes to education.

Enjoy your summers and holidays.

Anonymous said...

@1:28p- Good grief, your comment is ignorant.

Students aren’t failing because they aren’t being taught. Students are failing because it is currently acceptable that parents aren’t part of the education process and that students do no wrong. It’s believed that teachers should do it all! Pay attention to homework now versus homework 20-40 years ago… it’s almost non-existent. Students spend 13 years learning to benefit the rest of their lives and all parents can scream is LET THEM PLAY! Teachers are forced to operate in horrific environments that NO ONE can succeed in.

Until we respect education and demand students actually learn and complete WORK and hold both students and parents accountable for performance, nothing will change. MS has a highly undereducated population who are now parents and grandparents. Guess how successful their children are? (Hint, they are not!!)

Anonymous said...

@2:40p- Jokes on you! I’m not an educator, but dearly love many and listen to and observe their struggles.

You are comparing education in your learning days to today. They aren’t equal! You obviously have NO CLUE what teachers of today are put through from an evaluation perspective. Your teachers only had to teach. Today’s teachers are juggling 48 sets of parents for 24 kids, with 24 different dietary demands, 24 sets of acceptable social parameters, 15 with special learning accommodations, over half the class passed on to you performing below grade level, 4 struggling students whose parents have been advised to seek dyslexia or ADHD testing but the parent refuses, and no fewer than 2 behavior nightmares with an unsupportive administration and parents who could care less how they act at school because they act that way at home too. Throw in a gut-wrenching homeless or abused child and all you want to do is cry! It’s super fun for today’s teachers!!

I don’t doubt that there are some terrible teachers. Name me a profession that doesn’t have shitty people actively working in the field.

Arguing that the problem is teachers is NOT the correct path. Teachers of today are basically forced to teach given objectives. They aren’t freely choosing what to teach. They are allowed so little flexibility in curriculum and the syllabi do NOT care if your child didn’t master the previous objective. It’s a giant steamroller straight from the department of education that dictates instruction.

I usually find people who want to “blame the teacher” have one of those special children who choose not to follow instructions and expect the teacher to provide individualized, special treatment to their child. When 24 parents want special treatment it provides yet another impossible task for teachers.

I don’t know a single teacher that doesn’t work summer or holidays. If you think the days “off” are so fabulous, why didn’t YOU become a teacher?

Anonymous said...

2:47 loves to resort to name calling when facts get in the way.

Anonymous said...

@2:40p- Exactly how were you underserved as a student?

Anonymous said...

@3:12p- 2:47 here… exactly what name did I call someone?

Are you trying to refer to the statement that “your COMMENT is ignorant”?

The original comment was ignorant of fact. Yes, teachers have been in the classroom. (Duh!!)

MS has been at the bottom in education for decades. Those low performing students are now parents and grandparents. It’s an ugly cycle that today’s teachers CANNOT (and SHOULD NOT) have to fix alone.

It IS ignorant to correlate pay raises to performance UNLESS the unruly and unteachable situations are remedied or removed.

So, yeah, the comment WAS ignorant!

Anonymous said...

Past, present, or future.....if children K-12 aren't learning respect for authority and self-disciple, then the subject matters they are being exposed to and expected to learn are completely meaningless.

Anonymous said...

Teachers have a tough job, but cut administration salaries and give it to teachers. But as shown in an earlier story, less than half of students are proficient in math and ELA. We have been continuing to give education more and more of our tax dollars and obviously aren’t getting our monies worth. I believe in pay raises for results and the results are not there.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Bill's playing the "higher teacher pay" accordian, over and over, is one he points to twice without acknowledging the conflict.

First, he quotes from the report -- {too many “inexperienced, underprepared, and ill-equipped” teachers serving Mississippi students}

and then comes back again with the {difficulties in passing the required PRAXIS exam} --- both times acknowledging that we have way too many teachers in the classrooms of our Mississippi students that should not be allowed up front teaching. Maybe sitting in the desks learning, as they didn't the first time through the system when they were 'passed' on up and out, and getting a BA from a crappy college where they might have been admitted with a measly 15 or so ACT score.

But every time we have a 'teacher pay increase' it goes equally to all the teachers in Mississippi. Efforts to create a merit pay system has been totally blocked by the teachers union, Nancy Loome and her buddies, with the assistance of some administrators (particularly those in the nice republican based districts who move their republican senators and representatives along the primrose path) to keep the status quo.

Teacher pay raise - for the quality teachers in the state? Hell yes. Double it would be ok with me. But an across the board raise so that all get some, including those "inexperienced, underprepared and ill-equipped" ones" and those that have trouble passing the PRAXIS exam? No. Not equitable. Not reasonable. And not good governing.

Anonymous said...

If you want your children educated, you have to pay for it! You do not get it from state, city, or county sponsored schools. I will welcome any comment that contradicts this.

Anonymous said...

Someone owes my wife an apology!

Anonymous said...

Carey Wright gets paid $300k to fix this situation. So where is her game plan?

Anonymous said...

Attn 6:12 Apparently your wife teaches in the public school system. Rather than ask for apologies, why not have her transfer to the private school systems, assuming she is qualified.

The Truth said...

After supporting Yarber, I was directed to meet with Soc and Mitzi Bickers. They both wanted to start a payment plan for council members and JPS board members to get business. I couldn’t run fast enough to the exit doors. The point of my story is that this is how all politics in jackson are. Sad story. Where is the FBI? I alerted US Attorney Hurst’s team about the corruption on this and the water meter deal and it fell on deaf ears. True story. Why? The Flowood Republicans (namely the RHs) are involved in the water meter sham and the Rs want to protect their own. Shame on Hurst and his puppets. They could have down the right thing but their politics came to surface.

Anonymous said...

Several comments in this thread about teacher unions destroying education in Mississippi.

Folks, I am a teacher and there are 2 more in my family.

There are NO teacher unions in Mississippi who represent any teacher at any school in Mississippi.

Stop with the union excuse, please.

Where's Waldo? said...

If reread the article and all the posts, you'll eventually find the word collaborative. Therein exists the Rubicon. Believe it my brothers and sisters.

Anonymous said...

Meh, bad leadership from folks who were once teachers. It's a fantastically ignorant wheel of shame. And a short convo with anyone under 30 will prove it. Specially if that person spent their life in public school. Over the cliff and falling fast folks.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a genius and I passed the PRAXIS exams with flying colors for an Alternate Route license years ago.

If you cant pass it, you have no business "teaching" anyone.

After a few days shadowing some employed teachers, I decided I was not desperate enough to endure what teachers put up with. I completely agree about behavioral problems and parents being useless.

That said, Teachers who get results deserve raises. Without question. But not at the expense of more tax dollars.

Clean up the exorbitant admin salaries and reallocate the existing funds if you want support from those of us who don't even utilize the public schools but are forced to fund them.

Anonymous said...

Why won't anyone say it??? Majority minority public school districts are the public schools in MS with all of the problems. The majority white districts do just fine. Kids get an awesome education, great sports teams, great parental support and participation, low discipline problems. I wonder what the difference is? It certainly is not money.. oh, could it be home training and parents that teach a love of learning and a respect for authority?

Kingfish will not publish this but is is the truth.

Anonymous said...

No one wants to discuss curriculum.

No one wants to track the increases that are supposed to go to teachers.

No one wants to discuss how MS's system differs from successful systems in places that also have strong private schools competition.

No one wants to discuss that we have no real alternatives for children with behavior problems or learning disabilities.

You want one size fits all and it's just not doable. You don't want to hear that little Johnny or Jane might not be capable of keeping up.

And, you also don't look at how low our standards are to accept students in our IHL or JC/Community Colleges.

Children have an uncanny ability to live up or down to expectations. In Mississippi, even at the private schools, if your child isn't making straight A's being spoon fed testing materials, you should worry.

Day 1, assign chapter, Day 2 chapter is outlined on the board and students are to copy it, Day 3 testing on questions that the outline answered. Horrendously boring for bright students who can think of ways to entertain themselves and others.

God forbid we should make subjects interesting and exciting.

Anonymous said...

If I had an extra 20k a year, I would send my kid to Prep or St. Andrew's. Apparently, the rest of the privates are places to avoid the dregs of public schools. I will take my chances with my kid going to public schools and being in all honors classes until I see it being detrimental otherwise.

Anonymous said...

The majority white districts outside of Rankin/Madison are no better than Jackson check your stats . And yes they have more money and better educated parents who ran from the city to the burbs, they didn’t try to help, they ran.

Anonymous said...

How is my kid, sitting in a classroom of students from parents with less interest in their own children's well being that that of feral cats going to save Jackson, 7:04?

How completely un-woke of me to sacrifice many of my own pleasures and wants to be able to afford to send my child to school with others that also want to succeed.

Maybe Jackson public school parents should try that? You know...sacrificing unnecessary luxuries and properly prioritizing family values?

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