U.S. Education Secretary visits Hattiesburg teachers

By: Karrie Leggett

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - U.S.  Education Secretary Arne Duncan sat down with local teachers Friday to share an important message.

"We just wanted to celebrate the extraordinary hard work that teachers are doing all across America and right here in Mississippi. I think teachers are the unsung heroes in our society. This is back to school time, my favorite time of the year, and we want everybody starting with me and the president out thanking teachers for what they are doing for our nation and for our nations children," said Duncan.

Secretary Duncan asked the teachers what is the one thing that could make teaching better and the teachers answer was more money.

"We recently passed the jobs bill which is a huge victory. We're hopeful that we will be able to save more than two thousand teachers job in the state of Mississippi and bring 150 million dollars hopefully literally in the next couple of weeks to the state," said Duncan.

For Rowan Elementary school teacher Haley Meador having more time to teach her students rather than focusing on state testing would make her teaching experience much better.

" I know that testing in our district takes a lot of time and there is a lot of times that my students are out of the class room and in other areas. If I could have them all day and if I could have them more, I feel like I could make more of a difference in my classroom," said Meador.

Secretary Duncan shares the same outlook.

" I am really interesting in looking at outcomes: Are graduation rates going up, are drop out rates going down, are more of our high school graduates prepared for college and careers. So, test scores tell you some things. There's lots of things they don't tell you. I want to know how much schools are improving every single year," said Duncan.

Secretary Duncan's last message to teachers was that in order to improve education, drastic changes would have to be made, but those changes would come with help.