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State Board of Education Supports Bills to Help Address Educator Shortages

September 13, 2022

LANSING – The State Board of Education today supported the passage of three bills in the state legislature that will help local school districts address their shortage of educators and counselors.

The board overwhelmingly supports the passage of Senate Bill 861, sponsored by State Senator Ed McBroom (R-Waucedah), to streamline the process for local school districts in Michigan to accept teacher licenses from other states. The board also supports Senate Bill 942, introduced by State Senator Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo), to provide similar flexibility for local school districts to hire school counselors from other states.

In each of the last five years, more than 1,000 Michigan-certified teachers received their initial certification in a different state. Streamlining this process can help Michigan school districts hire more veteran teachers quickly to teach Michigan children.

The board also voted to support the passage of a bill to be introduced this month by State Representative Brad Paquette (R-Berrien Springs) that will extend and strengthen a state law to provide flexibility and better ensure student safety in the professional requirements for substitute teachers.

Rep. Paquette sponsored a bill last year that allowed districts to hire substitute teachers who have a high school diploma. That flexibility ended at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has been working closely with Rep. Paquette to continue that flexibility through the end of the 2023-24 school year, with the additional provisions that if the substitute teacher works in any of grades 9 through 12, that person must be at least 21 years old or is enrolled in and supervised through participation in an MDE-approved educator preparation program.

“Working closely with Governor Whitmer, the Michigan Legislature added $575 million in the fiscal year 2023 budget for initiatives such as Grow Your Own programs for support staff to become teachers, fellowships or scholarships for college students studying to become teachers, and stipends for student teachers, among the many initiatives that MDE recommended to address the teacher shortage,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “This investment was outstanding but needs to be accompanied by the swift passage of these bills into law that can help staff schools quickly, not simply 2-5 years down the line.”

Senate Bill 861 and Senate Bill 942 were introduced last winter and sit in the Senate Committee on Education and Career Readiness. The State Board of Education urges the legislature to move quickly on passage of these two bills, on which MDE worked closely with the legislative sponsors, and for the House or Representatives to quickly pass the soon-to-be-introduced bill by Rep. Paquette.