In 1878, the Mississippi State Teachers Association, later to become the Mississippi Education Association (MEA), was chartered by the State of Mississippi for the purpose of improving working and learning opportunities and conditions in Mississippi’s public schools.
At that time, all teachers and students labored in one-room school buildings without any stable state funding or state-provided textbooks. For nearly 100 years, the MEA lobbied for improved school structures, programs, and teacher salaries. The MEA also offered professional development through workshops, conferences, conventions, and publications.
In 1906, Mississippi’s African-American educators founded the Mississippi Association of Teachers in Colored Schools, later to be chartered by the State as the Mississippi Teachers Association (MTA). The organizers of MTA recognized the importance of professional development and job-related protection of existing and future African-American educators as well as the need for better school buildings, textbooks, and equipment.
The MTA made sizable contributions to the education lobbying efforts at the state level, primarily because of its efforts in legal and community-based organizing activities. Those efforts centered on securing voter registration and then getting out the vote in support of politicians who advocated for the same public education opportunities for African-American educators and students that were afforded to other Mississippians.
The Mississippi Education Association (MEA) and the Mississippi Teachers Association (MTA) joined forces by a vote of their groups’ March 1975 state conventions. The new union was named The Mississippi Association of Educators and began operations in 1976. A separate vote held in 1976 then secured its unity with the National Education Association.
The MAE emerged as the powerful lobbying, legal assistance, and professional development organization it is today.
Your membership and participation in the MAE helps to continue our success as the most powerful voice advocating for strong public schools for every student and for all Mississippians.
Since the Merger of 1976, the MAE has achieved many benefits for its members and the profession, and consequently for students, including:
- The largest salary increase in state history with substantial yearly salary increases
- Required local salary supplement
- Required sick leave days for teachers and for education support professionals/classified employees (ESPs)
- Unlimited sick leave accumulation for teachers and ESPs
- Two days of personal leave for teachers to attend association-sponsored events and other professional development workshops, conferences or for personal business
- Required professional leave days for teachers who are appointed to State boards and commissions, such as the Mississippi State Board of Education, and MS ETV
- Classroom supply funding laws including benefits from the State Lottery
- Group health insurance for all school employees
- Legislation to create a task force to solve the teacher shortage
Long before the merger, the Mississippi Education Association and the Mississippi Teachers Association had achieved hundreds of accomplishments for public education and the profession of teaching in Mississippi. Included in these victories are:
- Accredited schools throughout Mississippi upon request of the University of Mississippi in 1918
- Established the associations’ retirement plan for teachers (the state initially would not allow teachers to participate in the state retirement system)
- Developed the first salary schedule for teachers
- Established the first salary increment plan and worked to improve it over time
- Established a due process procedure for non-renewal of certified employees
- Developed plans to provide group health insurance and group life insurance for all school employees
- Advocated for the establishment of Mississippi Educational Television (ETV)
- Provided conventions that were the primary source of professional development for teachers