Over 1,000 Former Teachers Interested in Getting Back into the Classroom

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Public and Governmental Affairs 517-241-4395
Agency: Education

May 11, 2021

LANSING - Over 1,000 formerly certified teachers are interested in recertification, the first step in returning to the classroom, State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice informed the State Board of Education today.

Since the Welcome Back Proud Michigan Education campaign began two weeks ago, 1,063 formerly certified teachers have notified MDE with the express interest of becoming recertified.

"Former teachers often have a profound passion for educating our children, and we were confident that many would want to return if given the opportunity," Dr. Rice said. "We are encouraged by the response so far and welcome others who want to explore the possibility of teaching and inspiring our children again."

The Welcome Back Proud Michigan Educators campaign encourages formerly certified educators to seek full-time employment by partnering with a school district. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has created a process to reduce or eliminate barriers to recertification and to facilitate re-entry into the profession. 

In support of the state's Top 10 Strategic Education Plan goal 7 to increase the number of certified teachers in critical shortage areas, MDE reached out to approximately 36,500 formerly certified educators and is working with local school districts and education labor organizations to welcome back former teachers ready to rekindle their passion to educate children. 

Nearly 700 of the formerly certified teachers have asked MDE to share their information with local school districts in the regions in which they live. At this early point in the campaign, 22 local school districts have told MDE they are interested in receiving educator contact information. 

"We look forward to connecting more school districts with former educators wanting to return to classrooms," Dr. Rice said. "We expect that more districts will soon begin to participate as there is a growing consciousness of the availability of teachers who have an interest in returning to the profession." 

For educators to recertify their teaching license, 150 hours of additional professional development are typically required. By allowing districts to waive all or some of these hours for educators whose certificates expired in 2020 or before, the Welcome Back PME campaign reduces or eliminates the barrier posed by the required professional learning hours to recertify educators that have not had the opportunity to receive district-provided professional development. 

Participating local school districts, including public school academies, must request a waiver on behalf of each eligible educator for participation. A teacher's years of experience and the number of years since her/his certification expired will determine the level of flexibility and support required for the teacher.

Educators without a district sponsor may also participate in the campaign by accessing member benefits offered through the Michigan Education Association (MEA) Teacher Re-Entry Program, including quality professional learning opportunities designed for teachers wishing to transition back into the workforce.  

An educator enrolling in the program can receive up to the full 150 hours required for recertification for a low cost of $100 a year until an individual has been hired into full-time employment and is eligible for a full regular union membership. 

All educators will be required to fulfill the legal professional practices requirements, including fingerprinting and background checks, as a precursor to recertification and employment. 

For more information, visit the Welcome Back Proud Michigan Educators campaign website.