Addressing the Educator Shortage – Not Quick, Simple or Cheap

Watching the videos of educators talking about the educator shortage on www.MichiganEducatorProject.org, it’s readily apparent that solutions to this crisis won’t come quickly, simply or cheaply.

For proof, look no further than the recently introduced Senate Bill 418, which would grant two years of school employee retirement service credit for each year worked during this pandemic. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Curtis Hertel and his Senate Democratic colleagues, is based on input received from educators in Hertel’s mid-Michigan district. Critics will focus on the bill’s price tag, with early estimates at more than $1 billion – but that shows an understanding by the bill sponsors about the scale of the problem and the need to take significant steps to address compensation issues for all school employees. There is also some question about whether added retirement credit will send late career educators to earlier retirements, outweighing the retention benefits for those at the outset of their careers. However, the intent is clear – something major needs to be done to reverse the trend of educators leaving the profession, especially during the pandemic.

There are certainly other ideas about how to address the shortage, from student loan forgiveness to reducing teacher prep costs or paying student teaching interns to reduced stakes around standardized testing. It’s critical that teachers and education support professionals across the state talk to policymakers about our ideas to solve this issue – which you can do today at www.MichiganEducatorProject.org.

In other news related to the educator shortage:

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Make voice heard at upcoming redistricting hearings

The new Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission – created by the Voters Not Politicians 2018 ballot measure – is holding hearings to help develop new legislative district maps for the next decade. For the first time, residents can provide input about how voting boundaries are drawn, including regarding “communities of interest” that are important for […]

UPDATED: Senate acts on federal relief funding

UPDATE – June 15: The Senate took quick action this morning, unanimously passing a substitute version of HB 4421 that primarily does what we’ve been requesting for months – send federal COVID relief funding owed to districts immediately.  This is a BIG win for Michigan schools – if the House concurs with the Senate’s version of HB 4421, […]