Creativity needed to solve teacher crisis

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 5, 2001

In Mississippi, we have the greatest need, the biggest shortage and the lowest pay.” State Superintendent of Education Richard Thompson’s words should serve as a clarion call for lawmakers, education leaders and taxpayers across the state.

In speaking to a press group on Monday, Thompson talked about the need for finding creative solutions to Mississippi’s teaching shortage. And, he talked about reviewing Louisiana’s plan to allow individuals without teaching degrees to teach in public schools.

Louisiana’s program allows willing, college-educated individuals to teach in public schools if they can pass a crash-course of sorts on the subject matter. The new teachers then would be paired with mentors, to ease their adjustment into the classroom.

Email newsletter signup

It’s a plan worth considering for Mississippi, and for any state wanting to improve its education system. While the best teachers certainly combine a passion for education with the benefits of a college degree in education, we cannot ignore the benefits of allowing subject-area experts to bring their passion and expertise into the classrooms. Moreover, if these individuals truly want to teach, we are likely to gain commitment and enthusiasm, two key traits found in the best teachers.

Education, like so many other professions, continues to evolve. And facing the challenges of educating our children in the 21st century will require a healthy mix of tried-and-true approaches with creative solutions.

And opening classrooms to competent, willing professionals – regardless of whether they have a degree in education or not – could prove a smart move.