JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - When it came to education during the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers in Mississippi put their money where their mouth was. The state made notable investments in public education that includes teacher raises, more money for early childhood education and literacy.
Here are seven key changes you will soon see in Mississippi’s education system:
- Mississippi teachers early in their careers will receive a $1,100 raise in the new school year and all other teachers and teachers’ assistants will receive a $1,000 pay increase.
- Funds for the state’s Early Learning Collaboratives doubled to $16 million, which will serve approximately 6,000 pre-K children. Mississippi has 18 state-funded early learning collaboratives which include a school district, Head Start agencies, childcare centers, and private non-profit organizations.
- Lawmakers funded new instructional coaches, allocating $5 million for math coaches and $1.5 million for early childhood education coaches. The new coaches will help teachers statewide become more effective teachers of math and pre-K.
- $20 million for the teacher supply fund, up from $12 million the previous year. Teacher supply funds go directly to teachers to buy classroom materials.
- $7.6 million to modernize MSIS which is the acronym for Mississippi Student Information System; how the collects, stores, and tracks data on students teachers, administrators, and even school board members.
- $1 million to help districts pay for advanced learning assessments such as Advanced Placement and the ACT WorkKeys. Advanced Placement courses are college-level courses offered in high school. ACT WorkKeys is a national assessment that measures college and career readiness by assigning letter grades to schools and districts. This legislatively funded program will reimburse districts based on the cost of the exams.
- $1 million for career and technical education grants to districts to support equipment upgrades in CTE programs. Many districts have not had funding designated for these upgrades in 10 years or more, the state says. Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses help students develop marketable job skills and earn national industry certifications.
3 On Your Side got reactions from educators, school officials, and one local organization about the pay increase, who say it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
The state superintendent of education also agrees with the priority lawmakers have placed on education.
“The state has put in place proven strategies that have significantly improved student achievement, and these investments will help students and teachers build upon their successes,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education.