“Any time those people are recognized for the hard work they do it’s a good thing.” Local educators commend lawmakers for passing teacher pay raise

Published 4:45 pm Thursday, March 24, 2022

The Mississippi state legislature passed a bill this week that would give teachers in the state their largest pay raise in decades, and local educators are commending lawmakers for making a commitment to education.

The legislature passed House Bill 530 this week, a bill that would raise teachers’ salaries by an average of $5,100. The bill is now headed to the desk of Governor Tate Reeves, who is expected to sign it into law after promising teacher pay increases as part of his platform back in 2020.

“I think it’s good for education, I think it’s good for retaining teachers and I think it’s good for the quality of work our teachers are doing, especially in the past two years with COVID,” said Daniel Parrish, a secondary history specialist in the Oxford School District Curriculum and Instruction office. “I think it makes it easier for any district to recruit teachers and retain some of the ones that were thinking about moving states because the pay has been historically higher in other places.”

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Educators highlighted a number of specifics within the bill, namely the $2,000 increase for teachers’ assistants.

“I’m just excited for the teachers, and especially the teachers’ assistants throughout the state,” Parrish said. “I don’t think they get enough credit… a lot of those teachers’ assistants deal with our really early learners so any time those people are recognized for the hard work they do it’s a good thing.”

“I think one of the most important things is that our assistant teachers are also getting a pay raise,” said Della Davidson teacher Joanne McGehee. “They are invaluable to our schools and they do so much but they don’t often get the credit they deserve.”

Educators also said they were pleased that they were finally getting the recognition they deserve after the process was drawn out over several years due to legislative haggling.

“I know a lot of the teachers I’ve spoken to are just grateful for being recognized,” said Parrish. “Any time teacher pay is a conversation that state leaders are having… I think that’s a good thing. Any time we can bring more awareness to the field that were in, I think that’s a positive thing.”

“It’s nice to feel supported by our state representatives and senators and to feel that we are valued in what we are doing, and that our children are valued,” McGehee said.

Governor Reeves told reporters on Thursday that he has “every intention” of signing the bill into law.┬áThe pay raise would go into effect for the 2022-2023 academic year.