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MDE Launches Campaign to Recognize and Celebrate Michigan Educators

September 26, 2016

LANSING – The Michigan Department of Education today launched a multi-media campaign to recognize and celebrate the great work being done by Michigan educators. The campaign is called “Proud Michigan Educator.”

The campaign is a joint venture with the Skillman Foundation to elevate the prestige and respect of the teaching profession. The campaign will be highlighted through social media as #proudMIeducator.

“The Proud Michigan Educator campaign will express statewide and in each community throughout Michigan that we support and value teacher contributions to the education of our children and society,” said State Superintendent Brian Whiston.

In Michigan’s Plan to Ensure Equitable Access to Excellent Educators, it identified that one of the root cause for inequitable access and low teacher retention is the lack of respect given to the teaching profession.

This makes attracting new talent to the profession and supporting and retaining those in the profession incredibly challenging,” Whiston said. “To recruit and retain excellent teachers, we need to improve the narrative and show greater respect and appreciation for the teaching profession.”

Stakeholder feedback during Michigan’s development of its state plan for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) indicated that a major barrier to improving educator quality, recruitment, and retention is the low morale among, and perceived lack of respect for, teachers and leaders.

Statistics show that the education professions are facing a looming crisis. In the next decade, 50 percent of the nation’s teachers – approximately 1.72 million – are expected to retire. As many as one-third of teachers leave the profession in their first three years, and almost 50 percent leave after five years. Half of new principals leave the profession within their first three years, and enrollment in teacher prep programs is down by more than one-third from 2009-10.

“We expect educators to prepare our children to thrive and lead in a global job market. In turn, they should be able to expect our support and deep appreciation for their work,” said Punita Thurman, program director for the Skillman Foundation, who leads the Foundation’s education investment strategy. “We know that in Detroit alone, nearly 10,000 teachers and 350 principals need to be recruited and retained over the next 10 years to adequately staff the city’s schools. This starts with honoring the profession.” 

This social media-driven campaign is intended to demonstrate that Michigan values, honors, and supports its educators.  The kick-off will include the release of a short video featuring Tracy Horodyski, Michigan’s current Teacher of the Year, her principal, colleagues, and students discussing the tremendous impact of both Ms. Horodyski and the teaching profession as a whole.  The video release will be followed up with regular social and traditional media engagement activities, including additional videos and public participation opportunities.

To participate, Like/Follow MDE on social media:

  • Facebook: @MichDeptEd
  • Twitter: @MIEducation
  • YouTube: @MDE

Like, share, and comment on the videos throughout the year. Use #proudMIeducator to celebrate the work of Proud Michigan Educators.

For more information, go to: