‘Teachers deserve a raise‘: Reeves releases task force report urging leaders to boost salaries

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 9:45 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Governor Tate Reeves released a report urging state leaders to take action and prioritize teachers’ salaries.

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 work to reform teacher compensation.

”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.”

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

  • Improve pathways and preparation for teachers
  • Strengthen support for teachers throughout their careers
  • Raise teacher compensation to professional levels

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.

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.

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.

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

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