By Tommy Reynolds
Teacher pay raises will be a top issue in the 2014 legislative session.
I strongly support an increase in compensation for Mississippi’s public school teachers who have not had substantial across-the-board pay raises since 2007. This has resulted in a large pay gap with other nearby Southern states. We risk losing qualified and dedicated teachers due to the disparities in pay.
Teaching is personal to me. My father was a teacher. My wife is a retired teacher. I saw first-hand the many extra hours that good teachers put in over and above what is required in order to benefit their students. Good teachers should not, and do not, go into the profession for the money. It is a calling. However, the majority of teachers have families to support, and teacher salaries must be adequate and competitive in order for us to keep the best ones here in Mississippi.
Many of us in the House have supported efforts in recent years to increase teacher compensation. The roll call votes show substantial support for teacher pay raises among members of both parties. This is a Mississippi issue, not a partisan issue.
This year, as our state heads out of recession and economic activity is improving, there is hope that at least in the House of Representatives, there will be broad, bi-partisan support for an increase in teacher compensation.
Fully funding education, from K-12 through the community college and university levels, must be a centerpiece of any plan to promote economic development or progress for our state.
Many jobs of the future will be knowledge and information-based. Good teachers help to assure that our children will have the skills that they need to succeed in the future. Decent and competitive compensation will help us to attract and retain the best teachers for the job.
Just think in your own life what a difference a good teacher made for you or your children. Let’s make sure that we offer the same opportunities for our future generations.
Please feel free to contact me at my residence at 1720 N. Main St., Water Valley, MS 38965, by phone at (662) 473-2571, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at my office at P.O. Drawer 280, Charles-ton, MS 38921 and by phone at (662) 647-3203. I look forward to hearing from you on any issue that you may have.