Monday, September 28, 2015

Rural Mississippi Struggles To Recruit, Retain Teachers, Tries Offering Housing.

The Hechinger Report (9/28, Harrison) reports Mississippi released a report ordered by the ED on why the state’s poor and minority students often have less qualified teachers than their peers. The report found that the state’s rural districts where poor and minority students are concentrated struggled to recruit and retain teachers often relying on Teach for America to fill vacant positions. many Mississippi schools struggle to fill teaching positions. The report recommended offering extra pay or other benefits to try to recruit better teachers. Cassandra Rhone, a mother and teacher-in-training, in rural Hazlehurst School District said her children and others suffer from the lack of qualified teachers.
        Mississippi Tried Affordable Housing To Recruit Teachers, Now Catching On Elsewhere. In a separate article, The Hechinger Report (9/25, Harrison) explores another possible benefit that Mississippi has tried using before to recruit and retain educators: affordable housing. Many of the rural areas that need teachers do not have much affordable housing in good condition available to teachers. The Mississippi Critical Teacher Shortage Act of 1998 gave funding to some rural districts to build affordable housing to try to attract teachers, but more than a decade later many of the complexes built under the law lie vacant or are occupied entirely by non-teachers. The idea has caught on in other parts of the country though where high housing prices can make it difficult for teachers to live in the neighborhoods where they teach. Cities like Oakland, Los Angeles, and Newark have built or are considering building affordable housing complexes just for teachers.

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