|3/21/2013 - Jackson, Miss.
The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning passed a resolution today outlining its consistent position on increasing teacher preparation program entrance requirements at public universities in Mississippi. The resolution outlines the Board’s ongoing support for improving teacher quality and the impact a quality teacher has on students in the classroom.
The resolution states that while the Board of Trustees shares Governor Phil Bryant’s aspirations to increase the quality of classroom teachers in Mississippi, the Board has a different view of the most appropriate way to reach that goal, for all the reasons set forth in the letter from Commissioner Hank M. Bounds to the Governor, dated March 5, 2013, which was drafted in concert with the University Presidents and Deans of the Colleges of Education of all public universities in Mississippi.
“The Board supports raising the standard,” said Bob Owens, president of the Board of Trustees. “However, the mechanics of how that is done must be considered carefully so that the goal is achieved without unintended consequences.”
As evidenced by the March 5 letter, the Board, Commissioner and University Presidents unequivocally support raising the standards for teacher education. While the standards are not in question, the methodology must be sound.
Current requirements for teacher education programs, which students enter as juniors in college, include a minimum grade point average on the first two years of college work and passing scores on the Praxis I as set by the Mississippi Department of Education. These scores are 172 for reading, 173 for writing and 172 for math.
A student who scored 21 or above on the ACT prior to admittance to college may substitute that score for the Praxis I exam at some universities; other universities allow the substitutions for students scoring 23 and above. The Praxis Series™ tests are taken by individuals entering the teaching profession as part of the certification process required by many states and professional licensing organizations. The Praxis I ® Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST®) measure basic skills in reading, writing and mathematics.
The March 5 letter to the Governor made clear the Board’s support for improving teacher quality, but at the same time addressed the concerns shared by the Board, Commissioner, University Presidents and Deans of the Colleges of Education.
The letter outlined recommendations for modifying the language of the legislation to raise licensure requirements rather than teacher education admission requirements. This alternative increases standards without jeopardizing universities’ accreditation.
View a copy of the March 5 letter.
The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.