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MBJPERSPECTIVE April 14 2017 • • Page 6



Attracting top teacher a must for Mississippi

Website: April 14, 2017 Volume 39, Number 15

ALAN TURNER Publisher • 364-1021 TAMI JONES Associate Publisher • 364-1011 ROSS REILY Editor • 364-1018

JACK WEATHERLY Staff Writer • 364-1016 TED CARTER Contributing Writer • 364-1018 BECKY GILLETTE Contributing Writer • 364-1018 NASH NUNNERY Contributing Writer • 364-1018 LISA MONTI Contributing Writer • 364-1018 VIRGINIA HODGES Account Executive • 364-1012 TACY RAYBURN Production Manager • 364-1019 CHARINA RHODES Circulation Manager • 364-1045 MARCIA THOMPSON-KELLY Business Assistant • 364-1044 SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES (601) 364-1000 Mississippi Business Journal (USPS 000-222) is published weekly with one annual issue by MSBJ 200 N. Congress St., Suite 400, Jackson, MS 39201. Periodicals postage paid at Jackson, MS. Subscription rates: 1 year $109; 2 years $168; and 3 years $214. To place orders, temporarily stop service, change your address or inquire about billing: Phone: (601) 364-1000, Fax: (601) 364-1035, Email:, Mail: MS Business Journal Subscription Services, 200 N.Congress Street, Suite 400, Jackson, MS 39201 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Mississippi Business Journal, Circulation Manager, 200 North Congress Street, Suite 400, Jackson, MS 39201 To submit subscription payments: Mail: MS Business Journal Subscriptions Services, 200 North Congress Street, Suite 400, Jackson, MS 39201. No material in this publication may be reproduced in any form without the written consent. Editorial and advertising material contained in this publication is derived from sources considered to be reliable, but the publication cannot guarantee their accuracy. Nothing contained herein should be construed as a solicitation for the sale or purchase of any securities. It is the policy of this newspaper to employ people on the basis of their qualifications and with assurance of equal opportunity and treatment regardless of race, color, creed, sex, age, sexual orientation, religion, national origin or handicap. The Mississippi Business Journal, is an affiliate of Journal Publishing Company (JPC), Inc.: Clay Foster, president and chief executive officer. Entire contents copyrighted © 2017 by Journal Inc. All rights reserved.

ducation research is clear: The most important ingredient in improving outcomes for students is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. So, as Mississippi works to fight its generational poverty, among its most important tools are great teachers. The state already has many such educators, but it needs more. And it needs to attract its best and brightest young minds to become teachers. The challenge becomes getting more top students to enter and remain within a low-paying, demanding profession, particularly during a time when teaching does not hold the public prestige it once did. A program launched in 2012 to meet this challenge is showing early gains. The Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program is a collaboration between the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University. The rigorous teacher education program aims to attract the best and brightest students in Mississippi and across the country and train them to become educators in the state’s classrooms. METP students receive a full scholarship, including tuition, room and board, stipends, a study abroad experience and other perks. They must also commit to teaching for five years in Mississippi after graduation. The program emerged from a series of collaborative task force meetings in Tupelo between leaders at both universities seeking ways they could work together to better serve northeast Mississippi and the entire state. Those meetings were convened by the CREATE Foundation, the sole stockholder of Journal Inc., the parent company of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. METP is funded by the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation in Jackson. The idea is to use prestige and a sense of mission – plus a lucrative scholarship package — to make the field more attractive to top performing students. By creating a cohort of high-performing students, it helps remove a stigma — fair or not — that education is not a very demanding major. And early data indicate it is working, as the overall caliber of freshmen education majors has increased at both universities. At UM, the number of freshmen education majors with a 28 or higher on the ACT has risen from five in 2012 to 42 in 2016. At MSU, the number has gone from 26 in 2012 to 54 in 2016. The program has expanded, too. During its first four years, it accepted 20 applicants per year on each campus. Now, each school will take 30 students. The early success of the METP demonstrates innovative strategies can help make the teaching profession more attractive. We encourage state leaders to learn from that and apply those lessons as they work to encourage even more of the state’s brightest residents to become teachers. That work must continue. Mississippi can never have enough great teachers. — Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal


FRANK BROWN Staff Writer/Special Projects • 364-1022


Legislature needs right-sizing too


epublican legislators insist they are making the right moves to “rightsize” state government, which includes shrinking the state budget. If they mean what they say, the Legislature, itself, should be on the rightsizing menu too. Mississippi has one of the larger legislatures in the United States, especially for our small population. We have 122 representatives and 52 senators for a total of 174 legislators. This means the 50th state in wealth has the 14th highest number of legislators and the 12th highest ratio of legislators per capita. Mississippi has by far the most legislators and highest ratio of legislators per capita in our region. Looking at our neighboring states, we see Louisiana has 144 legislators, one for every 31,482 people; Alabama has 140 legislators, one for every 34,141 people; Arkansas has 135 legislators, one for every 21,599 people; and Tennessee has 132 legislators, one for every 48,077 people. In comparison, Mississippi has 174 legislators, one for every 17,053 people. Going with Tennessee’s ratio of legislators per capita would have the most impact. That would give Mississippi

Bill Crawford 62 legislators, one for every 48,077 people. Going with Arkansas’s ratio would have the least impact. That would give Mississippi 137 legislators, one for every 21,599 people. It probably makes more sense to use the average of our neighboring states as a guideline. In that case, Mississippi would have 88 legislators, one for every 33,712 people. Right-sizing the Legislature makes more sense now than in past years. It’s pretty obvious that most legislators are just not needed. Decisions on legislation come down from on high. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and his key committee chairmen keep tight rein on legislation in the Senate. Speaker Philip Gunn and his key committee chairmen do the same in the House. Hmmm. Since it’s clear Mississippi is wasting taxpayers’ dollars by having so many legislators and even more clear we don’t need 174 legislators to pass legislation, why not save millions of taxpayer dollars by reducing the size of our Legislature? The number needed is really very small, but why not go with the average ratio of legislators per capita from our See CRAWFORD, Page 7

Profile for Journal Inc


Mississippi Business Journal, MBJ, Focus, Health Care


Mississippi Business Journal, MBJ, Focus, Health Care


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