“I’m just a bill…” No, this time, you are not…


HB530 has made it through committee to the House floor and passed 114-6, bipartisan at that. That is great news for Mississippi’s educators. But… what will happen next? The Senate Education proposal has not, as of today’s writing (Thursday, January 13), been introduced. It has until Monday, January 17, to do so. With that being said, if the Senate Education Bill for teacher raises makes it out of committee and passes on the floor of the Senate, what will happen when the House and Senate bills meet?

Now, for a long time coming, teachers have a pep in their step. Many educators are actually following this session of the legislature. If that’s what we want to call it, teacher morale is higher than it has been in a long time… Why? It seems that legislatures have actually listened. We can see that in the two bill proposals and the overwhelming support of how the voting went in the House. We often hear what others are saying, but listening often does not occur. It seems the legislators have listened. Now, teachers across the state are somewhat breathing a sigh of relief in hopes of a salary increase.

Being an election year, I knew that teacher salary would be more discussed. Every session, it is brought up, but now… I would have never thought the House and Senate’s numbers made public would be what they are. One thing for sure, while the bidding war is on, let’s just make sure it is the teachers who win.

So, what happens now… will the Senate approve the House bill? Will the House look at what the Senate proposes? Will it even be taken up in the other House’s committee? Will the topic be tabled? This is the period of uncertainty. No one likes that in their lives. We want to know what is going on and what the results will be. I’m sure negotiations will be made and a compromise offered, but to what cost to the teachers? To add the finality of questions, what will the Governor do?

While we wait, I believe we cannot just sit and hope. We must continue to contact our legislators. We must remain proactive and let our voices be listened to. We must continue to advocate. Legislators have now acknowledged that a salary increase is way past due. Now is the time for them to make good on what they have made public.

I remain hopeful, and I hope other teachers also do. The teacher shortage, teacher retention, teacher “morale,” teachers staying idealists instead of disheartened can take a turn for the better. Now is the time. Too much has been said to backpedal and give reasons why not. Legislators should not use teacher salaries as a “tack on” to another bill to pass a political agenda.

It is time to set aside political differences. It is time for that bipartisan legislation we saw in the House vote and time for the Senate to uphold the value public educators bring every day to their schools. Everyone says they want to invest in the future. What better way to help our future than to ensure that our students have the best and most qualified teachers to educate them. Value does have a price tag.

Legislators, thank you. Now, make good on your promise. This is much more than a bill.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2022 J Clay Norton

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