Most schools are closed this week for the Thanksgiving Holiday. However, there is an education concern that is still mounting. Last week we brought you the story about concerns involving alleged high teacher turnover within the Meridian Public School District. However, Superintendent, Dr. Alvin Taylor, says this is not a problem that's isolated to Meridian, but instead it's nationwide.
"On a national level 17% of teachers leave their schools, or school districts every single year across the country," says Taylor. "If you look at school districts that are in urban areas, or high poverty areas that number jumps to 20% or more every year."
According to Dr. Taylor the numbers are even higher when it comes to new teachers.
"33% of all new teachers leave the profession all together within the first three years, and nearly 50% of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years."
Dr. Taylor says change is not easy for any school district. In fact, he says this has been the case with Meridian Public Schools and the implementation of an agreement that the district reached earlier this year with the Justice Department. It's an agreement that calls for student punishment to be fair and non-discriminatory. However, it's being criticized by some such as District 82 Representative Charles Young, Junior who's in the Mississippi House. He's says the agreement goes too far in limiting teachers' ability to discipline students.
"We can sit here and complain about the consent decree or PBIS and watch our district suffer, or we can take the high road and be positive about it, roll up our sleeves and make it work, not for administrators, not for teachers, but do it for the children," says Dr. Taylor. "If you have a positive attitude you'll have a positive outcome, if you have a negative attitude you'll have a negative outcome, and that's with anything you do including with PBIS and the consent decree."
The latest numbers for the Meridian Public School District reveal that the it lost its largest number of teachers almost four years ago when 27% of the teachers resigned. The following year that number dropped to 21% , and last year 20% left.