Teacher shortage needs to be solved ? quickly

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 19, 2001

Usually when school superintendents find themselves in a pickle, it involves some sort of tough disciplinary decision – the kind that would have made King Solomon a bit indecisive.

But these days, it seems, superintendents are in trouble as they struggle to keep teachers in their classrooms. That was the message three state superintendents made Monday as they spoke to members of the Senate Education Committee at the Capitol.

Their message: We need help in keeping qualified teachers in the classroom. Among those speaking was Natchez-Adams Superintendent Dr. Carl Davis.

Davis told committee members that the Natchez-Adams district has been forced to recruit teachers from neighboring Concordia Parish.

&uot;It’s sad that we have to do that at this point,&uot; Davis said. &uot;But we’re going to do anything we can that’s legal to provide a teaching staff.&uot;

Beginning Concordia teachers make about $21,000 per year, while Natchez-Adams offers about $24,600, Davis said.

And that’s only a portion of the problem. Larger cities are luring local education graduates away from Mississippi in record numbers.

Perhaps the message will sink in soon and lawmakers will begin finding the much-needed funds necessary to do a better job of recruiting, hiring and keeping qualified teachers.

If they don’t do that – and soon&160;- we’ll all find ourselves in a pickle. And getting out won’t be easy.