Changes Come to Mississippi Classrooms

By: Courtney Ann Jackson Email
By: Courtney Ann Jackson Email

Jackson, Miss. New supplies and new salaries. The Mississippi Association of Educators says the positive impact of the teacher pay raise will filter to the classroom.

"It helps the state to recruit new teachers to the classrooms," said Frank Yates, director of MAE. "It also helps to retain existing teachers, returning teachers in the classroom and that's a plus for our students.

Educators got an extra $1500 starting last month. They'll see even more next year. The total raise will be about $3,500 by July 2015.

Another bill was signed in 2013 but is just taking effect this school year.

"We think this will dramatically increase our children's ability to read proficiently," said Gov. Phil Bryant, referring to the 'Third grade Reading Gate'.

The intent is to prevent a third grader from moving forward if he or she can't read at grade level. Yates says it'll take targeted instruction.

"Schools are working and have been working to get ready for that," said Yates. "Some of them have been hiring literacy or assigning teachers that responsibility of being literacy coach to help all those affected."

Those students, teachers and parents are trying to adjust to another back to school change, Common Core.

"Parents will see that their children will now have to think through things and not just try to memorize a few facts," Yates said. "And that's what parents will see."

Yates admits there will be growing pains as Common Core is fully implemented in all Mississippi districts this year. But he believes it's worth it.

The legislature also increased public education funding by more than $7 million compared to recent years. That still doesn't equal full funding according to the formula known as MAEP.

A group is currently collecting signatures to put the Better Schools, Better Jobs initiative on the ballot in November 2015.


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