By The Commercial Dispatch, Columbus, Miss.
COLUMBUS, Miss. —
When Mississippi State and Ole Miss come together, it is not generally marked by a spirit of congeniality.
Long and bitter rivals on the athletic fields, the two schools also compete for students and funding.
But MSU and Ole Miss play well together in other, less-publicized arenas.
There is no better example of that spirit of cooperation than the announcement that the state’s two largest universities have joined forces to create a program designed to attract the state’s best and brightest students into the field of education.
The Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program, or MET, is a joint effort by the two schools’ education departments. The program is funded by the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation in Jackson, which has provided almost $13 million for the program.
The program seeks to increase interest in middle and high school teaching as a career for top incoming freshmen and community college transfer students by offering full scholarships — books, tuition, fees, housing — to attract top students to pursue teaching careers to help meet the needs of new Common Core standards introduced in Mississippi last fall.
Each school hopes to recruit 20 students each year with the goal of producing up to 160 new teachers over a five-year period. In exchange for the free education, graduates will make a five-year commitment to teach in Mississippi after graduation, with a heavy emphasis on math and English, two particular areas of need.
MET’s first class will begin at the Oxford and Starkville campuses this fall. ...