These 5 Mississippi universities will receive millions in grant money to fund teacher education

Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 5:51 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s no secret that there’s a teacher shortage here in Mississippi. But the State Department of Education is looking to fix that.

MDE is giving five universities millions of dollars in grant money to cover tuition for students looking to go into the teaching industry.

The grant money will cover school costs for up to 240 students who are looking to become teachers. Right now, the state has thousands of teaching positions that are open- needing to be filled.

Educators say they’re seeing a decline in the number of people wanting to enter the industry.

“We’re about three thousand educators short. We’re experiencing a critical teacher shortage,” said Erica Jones, president of the Mississippi Association of Educators.

She says teachers are seeing a heavier workload to help fill in the gap.

“They’re having larger class sizes. Many of our educators are having to work without scheduled teacher planning time.”

Wanting come up with a way to fix the teaching shortage, the State Department of Education is giving out nearly 10 million dollars in grant money to five universities.

It’s all a part of the Mississippi Teacher Residency Program.

The grants will cover tuition and expenses for students getting a graduate degree in elementary and secondary education from Delta State, Jackson State, Mississippi State, Southern Miss and William Carey University.

“I’m hoping that it will have an impact. Whether that impact is small or large, I’m not sure at the moment. But anything we can do to get educators out on the field, I think it’s going to be a step in the right direction.”

Anyone accepted into the program will receive full scholarships, testing fees, books, and mentor stipends.

Jones is happy with this plan, but says it’s just one step in the process and there’s still a long road ahead to fixing this issue.

“We have been facing a critical teacher shortage for years now. This is something I really would’ve liked to have seen a long time ago. Starting now is a start, and I just hope they continue to do things that will help our educators out on the field.”

The State Department of Education is using money from the American Rescue Plan to cover the grants.

Students can begin applying for the program in April of 2022.

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