Thigpen hopes for teacher raises from legislature
by Courtney Warren
Jan 08, 2014 | 1525 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Education is a hot topic in the state legislature this year and some changes have been made in Bolivar County involving education including consolidating schools and going through a transition to Common Core Standards.

The house is expected to push for an across-the-board pay raise for Mississippi teachers, some of the lowest paid in the nation. It would be the first pay raise since 2007.

When asked what she hoped to see for teachers after this new legislative term and how the Cleveland School District was doing in terms of are there enough qualified teachers for the schools, Cleveland School District Superintendent Jackie Thigpen said, "I am in favor of pay raises for teachers even if it is phased in over several years as it was done last time.

"Cleveland is in need of highly qualified math and foreign language teachers.

"We do sometimes have teachers accept jobs in other districts because the pay is higher. Even though the base pay scale is the same throughout the state, some districts have higher supplements than CSD or have additional funds and can give signing bonuses."

Thigpen said she believes this is an opportunity for the school districts and said, "Cleveland works closely with (Delta State University and Mississippi Valley State University) and serves as intern sites for both elementary and secondary education majors. These interns are often recommended to fill vacant positions in the CSD."

Sen. Willie Simmons recently said in a previous interview with The Bolivar Commercial, "Common Core is an issue that a lot of people are beginning to question in that it's not the thing in which it was sold to be so there will be a focus on improving that and make sure those needs are addressed and correction."

In response to a question about whether or not Common Core was working in the schools, Thigpen said, "CSD is moving forward with implementation of CCSS. Teachers have been and are continuing to be trained to implement the standards. We are also working to assure that students are practicing keyboarding and word processing skills. Additionally, the district is investing in upgrading the infrastructure, increasing bandwidth and increasing the number of computers available for use when the online assessments begin."

According to Mississippi Department of Education, the Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt.