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New survey shows major concern over educator shortage in Michigan

The Michigan Education Association released the results of the survey of nearly 2,600 educators on Monday.

MICHIGAN, USA — Recruiting and retaining teachers in Michigan has been an issue for over a decade and a new study suggests that it is becoming a widespread concern among educators and support staff.

The Michigan Education Association (MEA) released a survey of nearly 2,600 educators showing their biggest concern in Michigan schools is the teacher shortage and its impact on students.

“This survey proves what we already knew: Michigan’s teachers, support staff and other public school employees are at a breaking point,” said MEA President Paula Herbart. “The educator shortage is having a daily impact on students and educators alike. This is adding to already overwhelming pressure caused by meeting students’ academic, social and emotional needs while also dealing with COVID-19, unfair evaluations, standardized testing, the threat of school violence and so much more.”

Some of the key takeaways from the survey were widespread concerns about the educator shortage, student behavior and mental health and staff pay and benefits.

About one-in-five teachers said they expected to leave education in the next two to three years and about one-in-eight plan to retire.

The survey asked educators what they thought would increase the retention rate of educators and their top responses were:

  • Increased salary and benefits.
  • A significant retention bonus.
  • Replacing Michigan’s current educator evaluation system with one that is more effective and fair.
  • Hiring more staff to reduce workloads.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed spending $2.3 billion over four years to recruit and retain teachers and other school staff, enticing them with annual $2,000 bonuses that would grow to $4,000 by 2025.

The proposal was part of Gov. Whitmer's overall state budget proposal for 2023.

“Educators are asking for real solutions to this crisis, and Governor Whitmer’s budget proposals are a major first step to helping recruit, retain and respect educators, so we can support every Michigan student,” said Herbart.

The survey was conducted by the MEA and included nearly 2,600 pre-K-12 teachers and support staff, school counselors, social workers and therapists, as well as higher education faculty and staff. The statewide survey was conducted in January of 2022.

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