Michigan Board of Education supports plan to address teacher shortage

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan’s State Board of Education said on Tuesday they are in support of recommendations made by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) that aim to address the teacher shortage in the state.

“The state legislature has the responsibility to help rebuild the teaching profession in Michigan,” said State Board of Education President Dr. Casandra Ulbrich in a press release. “They have an opportunity to make a real difference for current and future educators.”

The MDE provided the State Legislature with a slew of investment options that they say will reduce the teacher shortage in Michigan.

Executive directors from various education organizations in Michigan also co-signed a letter to the legislature alongside State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice that called on the legislature to appropriate funds to curb the teacher shortage.

“The state legislature needs to address this matter strongly, quickly, and straightforwardly in a budget supplemental by March 20 that would begin to put Michigan schools back on a firm foundation for years to come,” Dr. Rice said in a release. “There are 68 days until spring. The clock is ticking and we need to act.”

The investment strategies recommended by MDE to the state legislature include:

  • Regulatory relief to permit more out-of-state teachers to apply for Michigan teacher certification. 
  • Grants to districts to provide stipends for mentors to support Grow Your Own programs and teachers in the first three years and a competitive grant to an intermediate school district to partner with MDE to develop broad mentoring parameters and virtual training and provide regional training/support to ensure mentor quality. 
  • Tuition reimbursement for current college students and support staff members who aspire to become teachers. 
  • Student loan repayment for recently certified college graduates who commit to careers in education and for current teachers who are working to pay off college.  
  • Grants to districts for Grow Your Own programs for support staff who aspire to be teachers. 
  • Grants to districts or directly to student teachers for paid teacher internships to offset potential loss in earnings by candidates.
  • Stipends to student teachers to relocate and pay for housing in high-needs school districts for up to one year.
  • Grants to educator preparation providers to expand Welcome Back Proud Michigan Educator campaign. The grants would offset costs to review transcripts and provide a mechanism to complete updated requirements for individuals who completed a program, or almost completed a program, and need a boost to reach certification.
  • Reimbursement for teacher certificate transfer and testing fees for educators relocating to Michigan. 
  • Grants to districts to support Grow Your Own programs for students in grades 6-12 to inspire interest in teaching and scholarships for high school seniors who aspire to and commit to a career in teaching. 
  • Revive and strengthen the teacher preparation pipeline in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula.
  • Expand eligibility for child-care reimbursement to individuals enrolled in teacher preparation programs.

“An investment of $300 million to $500 million over five years is necessary to increase the recruitment and retention of high-quality educators from diverse backgrounds; revitalize the profession through support for thousands of teachers and teacher candidates; and provide a sustained investment in these initiatives to ensure that the demand for high quality educators to serve all of Michigan’s children would be met more enduringly,” the State Board of Education said.

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