Thursday, September 16, 2021

Governor Addresses Teacher Shortage

 Governor Tate Reeves issued the following statement.

Governor Tate Reeves today released a task force report calling for Mississippi leaders to take action to address the state’s teacher shortages and bolster the state’s workforce and economic future.

The 50-page report from the Mississippi Governor’s Human Capital Task Force details how Mississippi leaders — from the governor’s office to the legislature, state education board, colleges and K-12 school systems — should collaborate to reform and improve teacher compensation, expand the pipeline into the profession, strengthen preparation and support for new and experienced teachers, and more.

“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.”

Convened at the governor’s request by the nonpartisan Southern Regional Education Board, 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. 

Among the task force’s key recommendations from the report:

  • 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.

The task force also urged Mississippi to begin work on a statewide longitudinal data system to monitor student progress from early childhood into the workforce, while ensuring students’ privacy.

Teacher shortages and the impact on the broader workforce
The state reports shortages of well qualified teachers at all grade levels for the 2021-22 school year, specifically in mathematics, science, special education and world languages.

Nearly one in five teachers in the U.S.—and up to 45% of teachers in the South—leave the field before completing their fifth year in the classroom, according to the task force report. Teachers cite poor working conditions, lack of support, overwhelming stress, and inadequate pay and benefits as main factors in leaving the profession.

Elevating the teaching profession and adding more well-qualified teachers also will help the state meet its overall education and workforce goals, the task force found. 
“It is crucial that the teacher shortage crisis is mitigated to give the next generation of the Mississippi workforce a fighting chance,” the report says.

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


Anonymous said...

Hmm.. low pay (although many promises by government for raises), culture of mistrust of educators, culture of viewing school as babysitting, little respect for the position, zero to little support from the public.

I can't imagine why someone would want to be a public school teacher these days.

Anonymous said...

Mo money, mo money….

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't anyone want to talk about all the alternate route/emergency licensed teachers we have in the classroom? They didn't go to school to be teachers and are really only highly-paid substitutes in many cases.

Why can't we hire and PAY teachers who are actually trained and prepared to manage classrooms and instruct our children? You can't convince me it's a good policy to pay folks who went to school to become educators the same as those who took a teaching job because they couldn't be hired elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

The report is a joke.

Pay is important, but teachers leave because they're asked to be wardens/social workers to students who can mock them with near impunity, not respected instructors. CTRL+F search this report to see how many times terms like "discipline" appear. The answer is none.

If you want better education, you pay the cost of hiring excellent teachers, give them control over their classrooms, fire them when they repeatedly underperform, and send students who can't respect them to alternative schools so the others can learn.

It's really that effing simple, but we keep trying to tweak the dials on this broken assembly line approach.

Anonymous said...

Step 1: Benchmark school systems that are doing it right. Document accordingly, and then go to those that aren't and clean house. Start with the overhead bureaucracy -- thin the layers and get more dollars to the student/teacher level.

Anonymous said...

@9:47 AM Job security, great benefits, including retirement, lots of time off that corresponds with your kids' holidays.

Anonymous said...

This pronouncement appeared about 5 years ago and the legislature managed to fix it “permanently”. By the way, why should the poorest state in the union not have the lowest paid teachers in the union?

Anonymous said...

Almost 20 folks on this so-called task force. Is the problem really that hard solve?! The public school system in this state is beyond broken, and the teacher shortage is just one by-product of that broken system. Until there is some district consolidation and elimination of many layers of administrators, then they can will continue to get kicked down the road. I'm a product of public schools, but the best decision I ever made was to send my kids to private schools.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:28

an alternate route teacher has to have a college degree and then do something like 5 courses after the fact (I cannot remember the exact number). These people have the option of then completing a MA degree and getting a standard license, or just completing the requisite courses and getting a license that lasts a few years.

In addition, they have to pass both praxis 1 and praxis 2, in their subject area, and student teach.

At what point through ALL OF THIS, does a traditonal teacher become superior to an "alternate route teacher?"

Anonymous said...

This here's exactly what Mississippi wanted when it elected Tate Reeves Governor. When your in last place things can't help but get better. Tate Reeves is the change agent that gets something done every day.

Anonymous said...

If the Republican controlled Legislature had not cut taxes for rich people and corporations, the State would have the resources to pay teachers a fair wage. You reap what you sow.

Anonymous said...

If the Republican controlled Legislature had not cut taxes for rich people ...

Put a stake in the ground. Define rich. What annual income level is the minimum definition of rich in your mind. Step up.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 11:27.

I have friends who graduated college to become teachers who barely passed the Praxis I & II after several failed attempts.

Another friend completed a bachelors in Finance and years later did the Alternate Route.

That friend passed both with exams with flying colors after many years post-college and likely being rusty at study habits and formal test taking.

So how is my Alternate Route friend less deserving of teacher pay and job offers, than the ones who couldn't pass the requirements WITH a 4 year teaching degree?

PittPanther said...

Teachers in other areas who get paid well didn't get there through legislation. They got there through Collective Bargaining, which mississippians are too scared to consider.

Scared money don't make money. Thinking Tate or any politician is gonna pay you your worth, is a fool's errand.

Anonymous said...

Well, the teacher business has been in decline ever since we took paddling out of schools. I dare any one of you to visit a school office at any point during the day or really pay attention at your next high school sporting event. Kids are flat out bad......disrespectful. Because they know there will no real accountability. Who would want to deal with that ?

Anonymous said...

What reasonably competent school teacher would want to live and teach in a "low socioeconomic school district? And that area covers around half the state, including Jackson.

Wow said...

I like the idea of the state longitudinal system. That will pay dividends 20 years from now if we have smart people then who can analyse it for insights and create good policy that will win the next 20 years after that.

In the immediate term, I like the idea of broad and varied strategies for overall increasing teacher pay or offsetting higher education costs for teaching profession. This will hopefully get bright people into the workforce. I also specifically support tying increased compensation to achievements like becoming a nationally board certified teacher for example. This would also ensure the highest performing teachers are also getting highest pay.

Lot of work to do, but we really can transform Mississippi. The problem is that there has never been an organized cohesive strategy for change--it is all fractured with everyone wanting their piece of the pie, aka federal funding.

Anonymous said...

Headline on this post could have been Governor Talks About Teacher Shortage. Half the populace thinks addresses are where the deliveries come to.

Anonymous said...

I thought the right was still blaming unemployment benefits for worker shortages. Is that not the case anymore?

Anonymous said...

Attn 2:09 Dear Mr. Wow, have you seen how well the state retirement system is (mis)run. If you think the state can run a longitudinal (what ever that is) system, you more blind than the famous Ellis Bodron (sp.).

Anonymous said...

10:28 again

There certainly are good alternate route teachers out there, but MDE suspended PRAXIS requirements during COVID. That was three school years ago.

That's without the folks who are granted "emergency" licenses while they take courses and/or study for the PRAXIS.

The point I'd really like to make is we should be encouraging folks to consider attending college in a teacher preparation program, and increasing base pay is certainly a good idea for recruiting.

As it stands now, the average ACT score for high school graduates in Mississippi is too low to gain admittance into such a college program. The kids with ACT scores high enough to be admitted into a teacher preparation program damn sure aren't interested in working for peanuts if they can help it, and I don't blame them.

Anonymous said...

It ain’t just teacher pay, it’s the food and recess too

Mike said...

I thought we already had a state longitudinal data system (SLDS). I distinctly remember the effort to implement it 4 or 5 years ago while I was serving on the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB). What happened to it?

Anonymous said...

Schools across the country are failing because unions decide what to teach and when to teach. Want to improve teaching in Mississippi ditch the union’s and legalize marijuana to pay them better. Which will never happen.

Anonymous said...

50% of teachers leave the profession within the 1st 5 years of teaching. I am a part of that statistic. I left after my 5th year. I spent my 1st year in a private school and the remaining 4 in a public school. In lieu of the state spending so much money on committees and research, they need only to interview both veteran teachers as well as those who left the classroom. They are the ones with the most knowledge of why there is a teacher shortage. They will tell you that they didn’t become a teacher because of the hours or the summer months. 99% became teachers so that they could inspire, motivate, and influence young minds to have a love of learning. Teachers want to be positive role models and truly make a difference in the lives of their students. Instead, what they are faced with day in and day out is a total lack of respect from not only students, but their parents and often times from administration as well. The amount of hourly and daily abuse is dumbfounding. I myself have had books thrown at me. I have been followed home. I have been threatened with assault.
For everyone reading these words, imagine trying to do your job and everyone around you is there to make your life more difficult by back talking, obstinate, annoying and threatening. Some days it’s hard to do your job because you spend more
time trying to keep the peace than you do satisfying all of the other demands of your job. Teachers go through this every day. Do you ever wonder why parents don’t help? It’s because they don’t have any more respect for teachers than their children do. Many times I reached out to parents only to be asked why I don’t like their child and why am I picking on their baby. Without support from both parents and administration, teachers cannot and will not be successful. Pay raises would be great, but it really boils down to respect and support. It really is that simple. For those of you thanking God that your baby doesn’t go to a school like what I have described, consider yourself lucky.

Anonymous said...

Which school district in Mississippi has a union?

When did Mississippi outlaw paddling students in high school?

Anonymous said...

10:32am and 6:22pm Your comments both are the REAL report on this matter. 20 idiots with PhDs on a committee can't and won't solve anything. Mississippi's educational system top to bottom is rife with useless, unneeded administrators who soak up a ton of the budget, yet provide nothing except keeping the teachers fearing for their jobs.

It used to be if a child was out of line in any way, they genuinely feared not meeting the expectations of their authorities - their parents and teachers - and their were real consequences. Now, teachers are asked in a menacing way, "What did you say to them?"

Teaching kids to simply follow directions (or else) is considered white supremacy today. The only thing that matters is keep the funding stable to support thousands of fat administrator means nothing in Mississippi. But shhhh, don't actually talk about it - you'll be fired.

Dee Dee said...

On which day of the study while chomping on a McAllister's Luncheon Pickle did some attendee blurt out:

“Teachers play a critical role in the long-term success of our state and country."

Followed by the chant: "Let's open the Governor's position paper with that!

PS: Pitt Panther. Please carry your ass back to Pennsylvania. The last thing we need here is collective bargaining or any other semblance of union presence in our school system. There's a reason your company sent you here, but God only knows what it might have been.

Anonymous said...

"@9:47 AM Job security, great benefits, including retirement, lots of time off that corresponds with your kids' holidays."

And you have not been in a classroom, a hallway, a school building or a teacher's home for the past thirty years, if ever.

My daughter is in her 13th year in a good public system. She is required to punch in at 7:00 a.m. and leaves the building every evening at 6:00. (That would be an eleven hour day if the Department of Labor's Wage-Hour Standards were the measurement stick).

She's at the school every Saturday and on many Sundays. She told me yesterday, "Dad, I have not taken a lunch in two years and don't know anybody in my building who has, so we don't even expect it or think about it." I said, "I thought you took your lunch every day". She said, "I do, and I might eat part of a sandwich while working or half an apple while finishing paperwork or reporting to the counselor who is in HER office working through noon". None of us take lunch. I'm not complaining. It is what it is".

I know for a fact, having seen it and listened to it, that there are very few teachers who are not frazzled, flat burned out, seriously over-worked, disheartened with lack of discipline and bombarded with no end in sight other than an upcoming holiday or very brief vacation period where extra work, assignments and seminars are required.

These literal pissants who believe their manure about two weeks off, three months off, short days, no work at home and other figments of various imaginations are lost in the wind of their own farts. PERIOD! Read it again!

Anonymous said...

Basic supply and demand. When demand is high, you pay more.

Need teachers? PAY MORE.

Anonymous said...

"If you don't like it find another job." has been the mantra towards teachers for years. Guess what? They did.

Anonymous said...

Here's the problem: Half the members of the legislature believe the bullshit that teachers work five hours a day, get three weeks at Christmas, Three summer months and superior classroom support from their administrative office.

We need to require every legislator to spend a minimum of six hours in an elementary classroom each budget year instead of hanging out at Ticos. And you wonder why Steve Holland lost 48 pounds when he retired.

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