JACKSON ― Mississippians interested in majoring in education or pursuing careers that allow them to share their knowledge and experience in the classroom are being encouraged to take advantage of a policy change that puts them on a faster track to achieve their goals.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mississippi is temporarily waiving some requirements for students applying to enter teacher education and administration preparation programs as well as licensure exams for certification.
“The pandemic has created serious challenges for Mississippi schools, especially those that are already struggling with a teacher shortage,” said Dr. Phillip Burchfield, executive director of the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents. “We believe these temporary policy revisions will encourage more Mississippians to pursue teaching careers and help strengthen our teacher workforce for the future.”
Addressing Mississippi’s teacher shortage has been a top priority for MASS. Last year, MASS launched a statewide awareness campaign, Unleash Possible, to highlight the role that teachers play in building a better future for Mississippi and to encourage more service-minded professionals to consider careers in education.
MASS also is working with state leaders to develop more robust recruiting and hiring practices as well as better pay and other incentives to build and strengthen Mississippi’s teacher workforce.
Waivers recently announced by the Mississippi Department of Education apply to traditional (undergraduate) and non-traditional (graduate) teacher education programs and approved educator or administrator preparation programs as defined by the State Board of Education.
According to the revised policy, candidates seeking admission to an SBE-approved traditional or nontraditional educator preparation program on or before Dec. 31, 2021, are exempt from educator preparation program entry testing requirements. MDE also suspended licensure testing for all complete applications received on or before Dec. 31, 2021, for five-year standard licenses.
“When we think of careers that make a lasting impact on society, few can compete with teaching,” said Burchfield. “If you or someone you know has ever desired to be a teacher but struggled with the entrance requirements, now is the time to act.”
Those interested in learning more about Mississippi’s new admissions and licensure requirements are encouraged to contact Mississippi universities or visit https://www.mdek12.org/COVID19.