Mississippi has a help wanted sign out even with the tough economy. Our state desperately needs teachers. State Superintendent of Education, Hank Bounds, says the teacher shortage has the state in crisis mode.
Over the next year six thousand teachers are eligible for retirement, another three thousand are eligible a few years after that. Already 24 hundred teachers are in the classroom with emergency licenses, which means they have at least a bachelor's degree and are working on getting certified in teaching.
So what can be done? The state board of education is on the right path by trying to generate interest in middle school and high school students to become teachers and also luring other college graduates to teaching through emergency certification.
But, we believe education leaders must continue to entice teachers to work a few years longer before retiring. And, the only way we are ever going to have a solid teacher base in Mississippi is to keep improving teacher pay.
Some districts supplement the state average where teachers can make a living wage. But in too many of our districts the supplement is so low that teachers are having to work several jobs to make ends meet. If we want our children to have a first rate education, then we must find ways to lure and keep qualified teachers in our classrooms.
That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post your comments below.