William Carey University and PRCC addressing teacher shortage

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 8, 2018

Wednesday, representatives from William Carey University and Pearl River Community College hosted a joint press conference to announce a new agreement that would address the statewide teacher shortage.

According to the agreement, William Carey University will partner with Pearl River Community College to provide classes for eligible third and fourth year undergraduate students on the PRCC’s campus.

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Dr. Ben Burnett, Dean of William Carey University School of Education, said the state’s teacher shortage is only going to get worse.

Burnett said according to data released by the State Department of Education, 10 years ago about 7,000 teaching licenses were issued but by 2017 that number had dwindled to 603.

“All colleges and schools of education across the state have to do our part to help avert this incredible teacher shortage crisis that is looming for the State of Mississippi,” Burnett said.

He said with the help of the Pearl River County School Districts this partnership will provide an opportunity to bring the 3rd and 4th year teacher education program to them.

At the end of the program, students will be expected to sign a contract with one of the three participating school districts for a minimum of three years, if positions are available.

Dr. Adam Breerwood of Pearl River Community College said the county has a shortage of well-qualified teachers and this program would definitely help.

Alan Lumpkin, Superintendent for Pearl River County School District, said districts in the county would reap the benefits of this program, because more teachers will be encouraged to work in the area.

“Anytime a student begins their college career and they know already that once they finish their careers there’s a spot waiting on them that’s amazing,” Lumpkin said.

Poplarville School District Superintendent Carl Merritt said the program will provide a larger pool of candidates to fill current vacancies in his District.