Teacher salaries need to increase

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Teachers play a significant role in the development of children and young adults. According to a study by the National Institute of Healthy effective teachers can not only improve a student’s overall learning and testing scores, but teachers can play a part in developing positive, helpful character traits.

“Teachers can and do help develop attitudes and behaviors among their students that are important for success in life,” the study states.

Most teachers work incredibly hard to make sure their students are provided with the best, most up-to-date instruction available.

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“Teachers spend an average of 50 hours per week on instructional duties, including an average of 12 hours each week on non-compensated school-related activities such as grading papers, bus duty and club advising,” an article by the National Education Association states.

However, despite the role teachers play in influencing the next generation and the long hours they put in, most are severely underpaid.

According to statistics by the National Center for Education, Mississippi has one of the lowest teacher pay rates in the nation. South Dakota is the only state that pays its teachers less than Mississippi.

Every district in the state is able to provide teachers with supplements above the mandated state minimum salary. Some districts choose to provide only $500 in supplements, while some provide several thousands of dollars on top of the state minimum. Despite their ability to do this, however, many districts provide only minimal supplements.

“Close to 50 percent of new teachers leave the profession during the first five years of teaching, and 37 percent of teachers who do not plan to continue teaching until retirement blame low pay for their decision to leave the profession,” the NEA article states.

Because teachers are necessary for the development of future generations, more needs to be done to encourage both local school districts and the state government to look into options to improve teacher pay. Otherwise Mississippi’s teacher salaries will remain below average.