/Jackson Public School District loses 236 teachers due to licensing snafu

Jackson Public School District loses 236 teachers due to licensing snafu

According to Michael Cormack, chief of staff at JPS, 236 of the 241 teachers in Mississippi News Jackson Public Schools District will be losing their alternate licenses. This is because of policies enforced by Mississippi Department of Education. He said, “This is really hurting us.” Cormack stated that 105 of the 236 ineligible for next year’s return have made commitments to come back to teach as “limited service” or long-term substitutes. They will earn $203.81 per day, but $85 per day before taxes and insurance are deducted. This is a 58 per cent pay cut. These are often single parents. These are people who are committed to their children. It would be difficult to imagine the financial impact of having to take that much of a pay cut. They’re now taking on a second or third job to make ends fit, but they are extremely committed to their students,” he explained. “They are not able absorb the financial impact,” he said. The remaining 131 teachers will however be looking for employment elsewhere. They want to return to teaching, but they face difficulties in getting certified. The problem is that first-year teachers don’t meet the requirements to be allowed to teach again. This has led to the loss of potentially hundreds of teachers in the Delta, an area with the greatest teacher shortage – and possibly others around the state. Some teachers may lose their jobs due to licensing misunderstandings. Education leaders such as college deans and district superintendents have stated that they believed that applicants had three years to complete the licensing requirements. Candidates only needed to prove that they were progressing toward completion to renew the special nonrenewable nontraditional teacher license. This has been the norm for teachers who have used this license in years past. Officials from the Mississippi Department of Education claim that the rules for licensure have not changed, and that current problems arise because of miscommunications with school leaders. Many teachers who hold this license discovered about the one year requirement recently. It is too late to complete all tasks before June ends, when the license will expire or they would have to reapply. There is no confusion. We know what the policy is, and we are consistent with it. Cormack stated that we have worked hard to ensure that teachers are able to complete year two and three of the license in order for them become certified educators. “This statute was written in a way that allowed teachers to fulfill all licensure requirements. “It is the current interpretations of statue that are the problem here.” Tommy Nalls Jr., JPS recruiter, also stated that the policy was in place since its inception but not enforced until recently. Cormack stated that he would encourage the MDE to reconsider its approach, and to allow it to a three-year timetable to meet all certification requirements. As the teacher shortage is at its highest point, this loss of teachers is not surprising. There were 2,100 uncertified teachers and 2,256 teaching positions in Mississippi in 2018. Cormack stated that JPS will increase its innovative recruitment efforts by: * Providing Praxis support to teachers so they can attain certification * Expanding outreach and engagement to other teacher providers like Teach For America and Mississippi Teacher Corps * Engaging the Kellogg Foundation, MDE to participate on several teacher retention and recruitment pilot programs * Trying change the narrative about Jackson Public Schools through a “superhero teacher campaign”. While there are many issues this new teacher shortage wave presents on an administrative level most education advocates believe that students are the critical population being affected. Cormack stated that it is extremely difficult for students to have to deal with the constant churning of teachers. It has a difficult impact on our students, who must adapt to a new set teachers. “The relational capital [teachers] have with our students and their family members has been destroyed.”_x000D