Tippah County has a part of the unfilled teaching positions that are open in Mississippi. A little more than a month before school starts back, and the high number of openings, has superintendents in North and South Tippah scrambling a bit.
The reason for the large number of open positions is varied. A lack of starting teacher salary is one of the largest factors.
“Mississippi teachers make $3000 less than the national average. It doesn’t make it easy to get new teachers to want to teach here,” a Ripley resident who is a teacher said.
The salary, threats of more cuts and other factors play a large role in what some are calling a crisis level teacher shortage.
Mississippi lags all surrounding states in salary and other key metrics, like the percent of high school graduates going in to education.
Measures by the Department of Education, such as increasing the number of “emergency teacher licenses”, have not slowed the flood of teachers leaving the profession.
“I am afraid it is going to get worse before it gets better,” a former state legislator told us.
Here’s to hoping he is wrong.