2 Ways That the Mississippi’s P-20 Education System in Stepped Up in 2015
Mississippi’s P-20 education system is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the cream of the crop. However, it may not be as bad as many perceive it to be. Here are stories that illustrated how Mississippi is making strides to fix its broken P-20 education system.
USM ranks number 6 in National Board Certified teachers. My alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi, was ranked sixth in the entire nation for producing National Board Certified Teachers. National Board Certification is basically the gold standard when it comes to educators and was developed over 25 years ago to give teachers goals to achieve beyond state requirements.
To earn this certification, teachers have to take a series of written assessments, submit student work samples, agree to an analysis of teaching practices, and prove thoroughly documented evidence that they have accomplished much professionally. In general, earning National Board Certification takes about one year to complete.
The Teacher Program at the University of Southern Mississippi is doing an excellent job preparing teaching candidates for their professions. In a state that consistently ranks at the bottom of educational performance for K-12 students nationwide, it is refreshing to see some sort of good educational news emerge.
Earning these National Board Certifications is just the start, though. These teachers need to reinvest that knowledge and those skill sets in the students of the state of Mississippi instead of taking their talents elsewhere.
I think an incentive program that focuses on attracting National Board Certified educators and keeping graduates from USM and other state colleges and universities within its borders would go a long way toward helping K-12 students rise in the educational achievement ranks. If we want the next generation of Mississippi students to thrive, we need to start by providing these kids with top-notch educators. What better way to do that than by employing the teachers that graduate from our state?
USM offered a study abroad program in Cuba. The University of Southern Mississippi offered a study abroad program option that sent students to study in Cuba this past summer. The description for the program on the university’s website calls Cuba “one of the most fascinating countries in the world” and it offers an alternate perspective on economic, social, and political life compared to America.
The study abroad program rab from May 9 to May 24, and students earned three credit hours that they could choose from a group of education and social work options. The cost to participate in the program is close to $5,000.
The timing of this program coincided with President Obama’s recent call for Congress to lift an over-50-year embargo with the island nation. In many ways, Cuba is a mystery to the American public, which is interesting considering how close it is to the coast of Florida (just 90 miles away). This group of students had a unique study abroad experience because so few other young people (or older people, for that matter) have ever even ventured to the island.
I am excited that this study abroad program originated from the University of Southern Mississippi because it is such a progressive idea. I also like that, among the course options, were ones for education. What better way to expand your world view than to study somewhere like Cuba? The educators who graduate after studying in this program will better connected to their students and classroom experiences and will have a unique perspective on students with Cuban roots.
What do you think? Is Mississippi’s P-20 education system on its way up?