Teach Plus Applauds the State Board’s Approval of the Performance-Based Licensure Pathway

Teach Plus Applauds the State Board’s Approval of the Performance-Based Licensure Pathway

Jackson, Mississippi, November 28, 2023—Teach Plus Mississippi today issued the following statement on the State Board of Education’s recent approval of a performance-based licensure pathway:

“Teach Plus Mississippi is thrilled about the State Board’s decision to approve the establishment of a performance-based licensure (PBL) pathway. The new pathway would allow 5th-8th grade teachers in tested subject areas the opportunity to earn a 5-year license after three years of teaching and proving their effectiveness through observations and student growth in MAAP testing.

“When it comes to licensure, current and aspiring educators in Mississippi know that we need  to maintain a high, relevant bar for entering the profession using multiple pathways. That is what’s necessary to ensure that every student in the Magnolia State has an excellent teacher. I applaud the State Board for recognizing that great teachers come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and for implementing a policy change that closely aligns with that focus,” said Sanford Johnson, Teach Plus Mississippi Executive Director.

Teach Plus Mississippi teacher leaders strongly supported the addition of the PBL pathway to the state’s current licensure policies. In interviews, surveys, and focus groups Teach Plus has conducted over the past two years, numerous teachers and administrators in the state spoke about colleagues who are excellent educators  yet can’t get licensed because of a single test. In their recent memo, Teach Plus teacher leaders pointed to an evaluation of the PBL pilot, conducted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, which indicated that the students of PBL teachers “perform about the same as students assigned to comparable teachers, across all years and comparison groups.” Students of PBL teachers were also noted to have fewer absences than students of comparable teachers.

“This policy change will be a significant help to alleviate the Mississippi teacher shortage. This new pathway will create new opportunities for educator candidates seeking to become licensed teachers who can help all our students succeed,” said Javiladra Blake, Teach Plus Policy Fellow alumna who teaches at Higgins Middle School in Clarksdale.

About Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. In pursuing this mission, Teach Plus is guided by the Student Opportunity Mandate​: All students should have the opportunity to achieve their potential in an education system defined by its commitment to equity, its responsiveness to individual needs, and its ability to prepare students for postsecondary success. Since 2009, Teach Plus has trained thousands of teacher leaders across the country who are driving policy changes and improving the instructional practices of teachers to create an education system driven by equity, access, and excellence for all students. teachplus.org/ms


Contact: Anya Grottel-Brown, agrottelbrown@teachplus.org, 917-902-5902