Teacher Shortage Worsens in Mississippi Due to Licensing Issue

This latest challenge shows how schools struggle to fill empty teaching positions and maintain teaching standards.

By Phil McCausland

One of the largest school districts in Mississippi is losing more than 200 teachers over the summer because they did not fulfill the requirements of an alternative license program — a route to qualification many states and schools have turned to as the country faces a major teacher shortage.

Jackson Public School District, which serves more than 25,000 students, found that most of the teachers who attempted to acquire a temporary three-year teaching license did not fulfill the testing requirement after the first year.

“Unfortunately, the 240-plus teachers who don’t meet that hurdle of passing the Praxis Core exams — they are out of a job or we can hire them back as limited service, what’s known as limited service teachers or substitute teachers,” the district’s superintendent, Errick Greene, told NBC News affiliate WLBT.

The loss of these teachers was first reported by Mississippi Today, a nonprofit news organization in the state, which also found that 105 of the teachers plan to return as substitutes — though they’ll have to take up to a 58 percent pay cut.