New Study Aims To Tackle Michigan’s Teacher Shortage

There is a major teacher shortage, not only here in Michigan but across the country.

A new study was released Monday aimed at identifying the main reasons for the shortage and offer up solutions to alleviate the issue.

The study was put forth by the Michigan Education Association and other partners.

“Our schools need educators and we need people that are passionate about our kids,” says Stefanie Sedlar, Mt. Pleasant special education teacher.

You may not notice it from the outside but inside our schools, it’s a major issue.

“It’s been really difficult to fill a lot of teaching positions,” says Sedlar, “Especially those in our highest needed areas.”

Over the past year this study sought out to examine the teacher shortage and target the biggest areas of need.

“Teacher recruitment, teacher retention and teacher recruitment and retention with a focus on teachers of color,” says Sedlar.

Teacher wages are stagnant, and tighter budgets raise stress.  This adds to the difficulty these teachers already face dealing with students daily.

“I see a lot of teachers getting burnt out because they are taking on all of the secondary trauma from their students,” says Sedlar.

The biggest issue is there’s a shortage now and you can’t just turn people into teachers in a semester. It takes time to get a degree. While students are now going into school knowing that there’s opportunities, hopefully those opportunities are there when they graduate.

“The shortage is significant and it’s nationwide,” says Jennifer Klemm, Director of Professional Education at Central Michigan University, “I don’t think there will be a surplus.”

“We know that there are a lot of teachers about to retire within the next five years,” says Jillian Davidson, Director of Clinical Experiences, “This is going to be a sustained shortage.”

CMU just a few years ago averaged 500 teachers graduates a year, that’s down around 300 now.

The study lists solutions like increased pay, better recruitment incentives, partnerships between universities and districts and improved marketing as ways to make the career path more attractive.

“When you have teachers that are telling you and advising people against it,” says Davidson, “That hurts, that hurts the overall profession.”

The entire report can be found HERE.