Legislative Republicans gave themselves pats on the back this session for funding the School Recognition Program, which rewards teachers primarily in “A” and “B” schools around the state with salary supplements. The program totals more than $20 million in funds from the Mississippi Department of Education’s budget.
#The program caused an outcry among lawmakers in districts with mainly “C,” “D” or “F” schools who pointed out that the program only benefits schools with the most resources. In a shallow attempt to address equity, the program also rewards any school that improved a letter grade. The immediate problem, of course, is that few schools improved a grade between 2015 and 2016 because MDE upped its testing standards during that time. In fact, an analysis from the JFP found that many more schools actually dropped a letter grade.
#The long-term problem of the School Recognition Program is its complete disregard of equitable education funding. Even though state law says lawmakers have the “intent” to go back and consider a salary supplement for teachers in “C,” “D” and “F” schools, the damage is done. The state’s failing school districts are all majority African American. (Jackson Free Press)