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Investing in Our Future: A Look at How We Support Our Children

February 16, 2024

It is our collective belief that access to accurate and comprehensive budget information is crucial for informed decision-making and progress in early childhood education. The Early Childhood Education Budget book should serve as a valuable tool for policymakers, educators and stakeholders in our state. By disseminating this information, we aim to foster transparency, facilitate evidence-based planning and ultimately strengthen the foundations of early childhood education in Mississippi. While we have strived for perfection, we acknowledge that this inaugural edition might require refinement. However, I assure you that we remain fully committed to continually improving our data set and potential future editions. Your feedback and suggestions are invaluable, and we encourage you to share insights that can help enhance the accuracy and usefulness of this resource.As we delve into the wealth of financial and programmatic data presented in the Mississippi Early Childhood Education Budget book, it is essential to approach the information with a balanced mindset and a commitment to meaningful discussion. While financial data can be a powerful tool for understanding and evaluating the allocation of resources, it is crucial not to weaponize it for personal or political gain. Let us remember that the purpose of this book is to foster transparency and informed decision-making, not to fuel divisiveness. By engaging in constructive dialogue and seeking a comprehensive understanding of the data, we can collectively work toward building a stronger foundation for early childhood education in Mississippi.

Early Childhood Education

Eyeing the Exit: Teacher Turnover and What We Can Do About It

January 11, 2023

In March 2022, the Mississippi State Legislature passed the largest single-year pay raise for public school teachers in our state's history, raising teacher pay by an average of $5,151. Just months later, districts reported the highest levels of teacher attrition in years: one in five Mississippi teachers opted to not return to their classroom for the 2022-2023 school year, including one-third of all teachers in districts with an "F" accountability rating. These levels of attrition constitute a sharp uptick from previous years and beg the question: why are Mississippi teachers continuing to leave the classroom in droves?Mississippi First has been studying this question for the last few years. In the months leading up to the historic 2022 teacher pay raise, we surveyed 6,496 teachers—one in five teachers statewide—about their pathway into the profession, financial well-being, career plans, and policy preferences. In this report, we present the results from the survey to provide a nuanced answer about which teachers are leaving the classroom and why. We also examine the connection between attrition risk and standard of living to make the case that financial insecurity is rampant among educators and a major driver of early exits from the classroom. Finally, we offer a series of recommendations for policymakers to address teacher turnover and strengthen every facet of Mississippi's educator pipeline

Early Childhood Education

Voices of the Shortage: 2022 Mississippi Teacher Survey

February 2, 2022

Building on the analysis provided in the report, Nothing in the Pipes: Educator Crisis in Mississippi, Mississippi First surveyed 6,496 Mississippi teachers to establish the state's most comprehensive resource for understanding the critical teacher shortage in Mississippi from teachers' perspectives.

The State of Pre-K in Mississippi 2014-15

January 1, 2017

The State of Pre-K in Mississippi (2014-2015) is the second report in Mississippi First's ground-breaking series by the same name focusing on pre-K access and quality in Mississippi. This report updates our 2011-2012 report on public pre-K and expands it to include information about licensed childcare centers serving four-year-old children. This report is the first in Mississippi attempting to quantify pre-K access—whether public or private—in every Mississippi community. Additionally, this report is the first to present information about the quality of each school district program according to national benchmarks and to include programmatic information about all licensed childcare centers serving four-year-old children.

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