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State Board of Education Supports Plan to Address Michigan's Teacher Shortage

LANSING - Michigan's State Board of Education today adopted a resolution strongly supporting the recruitment and retention recommendations that the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has put forth to the state legislature to help strengthen Michigan's teaching profession. 

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

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has provided the legislature with a menu of strategic investment options to respond to the teacher shortage-a major issue facing Michigan schools and school children and, in many cases, schools and school children across the country.

In addition, a group of executive directors from leading statewide education organizations co-signed a letter to the legislature with State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice that urged the legislature to act quickly to appropriate necessary funds for strategies to reverse the teacher shortage and rebuild the profession.

"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. "There are 68 days until spring. The clock is ticking and we need to act.

"To begin to rebuild the profession, we need legislative action now so that we have the spring and summer to begin these efforts and to begin to reduce the teacher shortage," Dr. Rice added.

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.

In its resolution, the State Board of Education affirmed that "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 statewide education organizations to co-sign the letter with MDE to the legislature on the urgency of these actions are: AFT Michigan; Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators; Michigan Association of School Boards; Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals; Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators; Michigan Education Association; Michigan Elementary & Middle School Principals Association; Michigan School Business Officials; and Middle Cities Education Association.

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