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Michigan Invited to Share Its Growing Efforts to Address the Teacher Shortage at U.S. Department of Education Conference

LANSING, MI – Leaders from the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and Michigan’s education community today shared the state’s efforts and successes in addressing the teacher shortage during a regional U.S. Department of Education conference in Chicago.

The federal agency selected Michigan to present because of Michigan’s strong and growing work in support of the teaching profession. 

Teacher preparation program enrollment in Michigan declined from 23,203 in 2011-12 to 9,512 in 2016-17, a 59 percent decline, but rebounded to 14,829 in 2021-22, a 56 percent increase from 2016. Michigan is addressing the teacher shortage, a national challenge, through a wide range of efforts, including Grow Your Own initiatives for students and support staff who aspire to become teachers.

“Goal 7 of Michigan’s Top 10 Strategic Education Plan is to increase the numbers of certified teachers in areas of shortage,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael F. Rice, who was part of a presentation in Chicago about the state’s efforts. “I’m proud of the progress that Michigan has made and pleased to have a chance to share with and learn from educators in other Midwest and Northeast states who gathered in Chicago. Michigan is investing in and supporting a new, diverse group of educators to teach Michigan children.”

Dr. Rice presented at the University of Illinois Chicago alongside Dr. Sarah-Kate LaVan, director of the MDE Office of Educator Excellence.

Michigan programs and initiatives that help recruitment to and retention in the teaching profession include:

  • MI Future Educator Fellowships, which offer $10,000 scholarships to up to 2,500 future educators every year. The state has budgeted $305 million in fiscal year 2023 and $25 million in fiscal year 2024.
  • Grow Your Own, which creates support staff-to-teacher programs where teaching candidates work while completing preparation programs. Michigan’s fiscal year 2023 investment is $175 million.
  • MI Future Educator stipends, which offer $9,600 to support student teachers using $50 million allocated each year in fiscal years 2023 and 2024.
  • Grow Your Own EXPLORE, which introduces students to the teaching profession using $1.7 million in grants across three fiscal years for future educator programs in grades 6-12.
  • Talent Together, which helps school employees earn certification through partnerships with intermediate school districts and educator preparation institutions with $76 million allocated by the state legislature.
  • The Rural Educator Credentialing Hub to assist rural educators in becoming certified through a consortium of educator preparation institutions and rural school districts led by Central Michigan University and funded by a $15 million grant.
  • Mentoring and other support to new teachers and others new to their positions in education through $50 million in grants over five years.
  • Student loan repayments to help educators pay off their loans with $225 million that is available in the fiscal year 2024 budget.

In fiscal year 2020 and earlier, Michigan’s state school aid act included no funding to address the teacher shortage. Since then, funding to address the educator shortage has increased to $575 million in fiscal year 2023 and over $448 million in fiscal year 2024.

From 1995 to 2015, Michigan’s inflation-adjusted total revenue growth was the lowest in the nation, according to a 2019 Michigan State University study led by Dr. David Arsen. During the same period, Michigan’s inflation-adjusted per pupil revenue growth was the third lowest in the nation.

“For many years, Michigan’s support for public education declined, as the state pursued poor public policy to improve public schools,” said Dr. Rice. “Thanks to the strong support of the governor and the state legislature, as well as the education community and the department, the last two state budgets for public education have been the best two in the last 30 years, from the perspective of both school finance adequacy and equity. We’re working to rebuild the teaching profession and by extension public education in the state, but it takes more than two budgets and more than two years to address the deleterious impacts of three decades of underfunding and sometimes wrong-headed education policy.”

Today and on Friday, the U.S. Department of Education is hosting the second of three Regional Convenings to Support State Action to Advance the Education Professions. The three convenings are bringing together key leaders from across over 25 states, Washington, D.C., and American Samoa in cross-sector state leadership teams to learn from each other about effective efforts by states to increase educator compensation, expand access to high-quality and affordable pathways into the education professions, and increase educator diversity.

Michigan’s delegation also includes:

  • Dr. Judith Pritchett, member and secretary of the State Board of Education.
  • Dr. Paula Lancaster, Central Michigan University, dean of the College of Education and Human Services.
  • Ms. Mindy Westra, Michigan Education Association, Center for Leadership and Learning, executive director.
  • Mr. Terrence Martin, American Federation of Teachers-Michigan, president.
  • Mr. Ron Koehler, Kent Intermediate School District, superintendent
  • Mr. Dave Manson, Van Buren Intermediate School District, superintendent.
  • Dr. Michele Harmala, MDE deputy superintendent.
  • Ms. Kelli Brozanski, MDE Office of Educator Excellence, Strategic Implementation, unit manager.
  • Mr. Dante Watson, MDE Office of Educator Excellence, recruitment and retention manager.
  • Ms. Jenni Dickens, MDE Office of Educator Excellence, Grow Your Own consultant.
  • Mr. Scott Jedele, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, administrative manager, apprenticeship expansion.

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