Mississippi educators are pushing for a statewide teacher pay raise. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports it tops their legislative agenda.
Mississippi teachers are among the lowest paid educators in the nation with an average salary of less than $42 thousand dollars. Joyce Helmick, president of the Mississippi Association of Educators, is urging lawmakers to fully fund k-12 education and to make teacher pay a priority in their 2014 session.
"The teachers in Mississippi have not had a raise in seven years. It is time for our legislators to compensate our teachers for all the work that they do and the time that they spend with their children."
Helmick says the low starting salary is also forcing a number of would be teachers into other professions.
"And they recognize that they are not going to be able to live the way that they could live with another kind of job. So a good solid pay raise would bring in some of our brightest and best and keep them there."
Governor Phil Bryant has repeatedly said any teacher pay raise should be based on test scores and teacher evaluations. Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.