/Hood rolls out K-12 education plan in the Delta

Hood rolls out K-12 education plan in the Delta

Nonprofit Mississippi News Greenville — Jim Hood, the Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate, presented his K-12 education plan to the Delta last Wednesday. The key points were: “The economists now agree education is the best dollar that a state could spend for economic development,” Attorney general Hood stated to the Greenville crowd at Lucy Webb Elementary School. “The issue regarding early childhood education — that is something we can accomplish in the first month. It would cost us $31 million. Hood spoke in a region with a teacher shortage that exceeds the state’s. For example, in North Bolivar Consolidated Schools District, 24% of teachers were not certified during the last school year. Five percent was the statewide average for non-certified teachers in that same year. To address the shortage, the plan includes expanding tuition forgiveness programs for teachers who have been teaching in the state for five years. Hood suggested that retired teachers could return to teaching while drawing retirement. Hood also suggested reevaluating certain requirements that can sometimes be cited as obstacles for teachers who want to enter the profession. “[The legislature] placed this 21 ACT score upon teachers and that’s been cut by hundreds of teachers who could have gotten certified. Hood stated, “I look around at the Legislature, and the ones who passed it going,” Hood could create an education transition committee to examine teacher requirements if elected. This committee would also examine the Department of Education and determine if Mississippi should be testing students in the manner it is. He said that federal testing requirements require MDE to interpret federal law correctly. Hood’s speech was filled with acknowledgements of the Delta’s disproportionately suffered from certain education policies, the Legislature’s failure to pass competitive raises and the refusal to fully finance the public education formula. Hood answered that this was part of why he visited the Delta to talk education. I’m going ask teachers and other education professionals who have helped me to develop a plan to help the Delta. He said that this is part of my job today. “If we win, then we’re going have transition committees to put those things into legislation so that we can get some things done the first year.”