You would think that in the midst of a national teacher shortage, states would be willing to undue some of the stifling regulation tape in order to make it easier for teachers to teach. However, taking the exact opposite tact, Mississippi has decided to begin enforcing licensing regulations more consistently; the end result is that Jackson Public School District is losing 236 teachers. Similarly, school districts throughout the state are finding themselves minus teachers they were expecting for the upcoming school year.
All 236 of the Jackson teachers were first-year teachers holding a temporary license that enabled them to teach. And all 236 are ineligible to teach next year because they failed to meet the licensing requirements for second-year teachers.
No doubt, when squinting at this story really hard the teachers deserve some of the blame. Based on a story in Mississippi Today, though, the lion’s share of the blame lies elsewhere—most notably on the Mississippi Department of Education. Whatever blame the teachers may deserve is most likely for trusting other people tasked with helping them through the licensing process.
Education leaders like district superintendents and college deans of education have said they thought that candidates had three years to meet the licensing requirements, and only had to show that candidates were making progress toward completion in order to renew the special non-renewable license for nontraditional teachers. In years past, this has been the case with teachers using this license.
Mississippi Department of Education officials say that the rules for the license have never changed and that problems are arising now because of a misunderstanding with local school leaders.
(Read more from “Southern State Loses Hundreds of Teachers After They Are Ruled Ineligible” HERE)