I understand the fiscal problems our state government is facing. Frankly, as a 20-year veteran educator in the state of Mississippi, it’s something I’ve seen many times before. However, the contempt the current Mississippi state Legislature, and more specifically Sen. Nancy Collins, demonstrates for Mississippi’s students and teachers is new to me. Please allow me to give you some much-needed insight.
In order for a child to be considered for special services, teachers in my district must complete a packet of information that is over 60 pages long. Teachers in my district took furlough days and received a reduction in their salaries because of budget restraints, in addition to having our local supplement reduced to $1.
I am a National Board Certified teacher and I have obtained a master’s degree in education, but my sister holds an associate degree and makes more per hour than virtually all the teachers in my district.
Rather than focusing on slashing education, perhaps Sen. Collins and the other members of Legislature should reduce the size of the Legislature. The Mississippi House has 122 members and the Senate has 52 members with a population that ranks 31st. California has a population of about 37 million and has a legislature composed of only 80 representatives and 40 senators. They can make it work with that number, so why can’t we?
The action of our Legislature is only going to cost Mississippi even more quality teachers.
Collins has the power to open the discussion to reduce the size of our state government as well as introduce legislation to see that it happens. I truly hope that she gives this matter careful consideration before these actions destroy the future of Mississippi and our quality public education.
Kathy Collier, M.Ed., Board Certified Teacher