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Several education proposals are pending for Mississippi

Mississippi Department of Education
Mississippi Department of Education(WLBT)
Published: Jan. 23, 2021 at 12:23 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - School hasn’t looked the same for any district across the state this year. And the State Board of Education is recognizing it is what they’ve called a “transition year.”

“No one wanted to be penalized for a situation that is totally out of their control,” said Kelly Riley, Mississippi Professional Educators Executive Director.

That’s why the State Board of Education is seeking to waive some of the usual accountability measurements, including not assigning new A-F grades to schools this year. The high school exams usually required for graduation and the third grade reading gate will be taken but student’s won’t be held back based on that grade.

“A lot of people believe that it’s important for them to take the assessment so we know where they are and we can identify those students who need additional help,” added The Parents’ Campaign Executive Director Nancy Loome.

Pearl Public School District’s Superintendent says there were residual effects from last school year.

“When children are learning to read in their early grades and when you’re basically out a fourth of the year last year and then coming back, some of them were behind,” said Superintendent Raymond Morgigno. “So, you did see a gap there at the beginning. So, I think we would’ve seen a bigger challenge this year across our state than in normal years.”

At the State Capitol, there’s one proposal that would make sure reduced school attendance doesn’t equal reduced state funding.

“Kids that are quarantined for 14 days and it’s just most districts are down this year,” noted Morgigno. “So, it would be, I think, devastating to schools next year. Because you’ve had an uptick in homeschooling and most of those kids will start coming back when the pandemic is over. With that, I think that’s huge.”

The State Senate unanimously passed a teacher pay raise bill this week.

“The pressure’s on the House now and I have had some feedback from members who are concerned at the Speaker’s comment that the House is not going to take up the bill or consider a pay raise until later in the session,” said Riley.

And there are multiple proposals to address the teacher shortage.

“They’re really thinking about ways that they can attract good, high quality folks into the profession and pay them what they deserve,” added Loome.

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