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Survey: Mississippi sees increased educator shortage in 2023-2024

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Mississippi continues to face an uphill battle in getting more teachers signed up to be in the classroom.

Results from a survey conducted by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) show there are 5,012 vacancies among teachers, administrators, and school support staff across the state, an increase of 24 compared to the 2022-23 school year.

The survey was conducted by MDE’s Office of Teaching and Leading from Aug. 4 through Nov. 15, 2023, and had 100 percent voluntary participation from school districts. There were 5,503 vacancies reported in 2021-22 and 4,988 in 2022-23.

Compared to last year, vacancies increased by 182 among teachers, by nine among K-12 licensed educators (library/media, counselors, and speech-language positions), and by 25 among administrators (principals and assistant principals). However, vacancies decreased by 192 among K-12 support staff such as teacher assistants, nurses, custodians, bus drivers, food service staff, and administrative assistants.

More vacancies were filled in the state’s northeast and southeast regions while the gap widened in northwest and central Mississippi.

The MDE has identified the following four main strategies to address the current vacancies:

  • Convene an Educator Workforce Advisory group comprised of Mississippi universities and districts to address current and projected needs.​
  • Increase awareness of new elementary education pathways and endorsement options.
  • Ask the Legislature for support to continue the Mississippi Teacher Residency in geographical critical shortage areas.
  • Launch the Professional Growth System Observation and Development Portal in the Mississippi Educator Career Continuum Archive and the Empowering Educators Workshop.

Other strategies to mitigate past educator vacancies through increased teacher recruitment have included acceptance of individuals into the Mississippi Teacher Residency program and removing barriers to educator licensure, including expanding access to alternate-route elementary educator preparation programs and the performance-based licensure program per district request.

Additionally, MDE-sponsored events and professional learning opportunities such as the Elevate Teachers Conference remain effective as a strategy for increased teacher retention.

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