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Education

New report outlines how Michigan can retain and recruit teachers

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A new report asked teachers about the best way to help attract and retain teachers in Michigan.

According to officials who worked on the report the findings weren’t all that surprising.

The report set up five listening sessions with teachers across Michigan to better understand the problems they face. The sessions were held in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Mount Pleasant, Detroit, and Southfield.

Dan Quinn is with Public Policy Associates, which conducted the report on behalf of the Michigan Education Association. He said one of the major takeaways from the sessions was that teachers feel policy makers aren’t listening to their needs.

“Teachers had felt their voice was not being included in the policy discussions so the fact that they were actually invited to attend these sessions and that they chose to be a part of these sessions they felt was a step in the right direction.”

According to Quinn it has become increasingly important to understand how to retain and recruit teachers.

“It is fairly well established in Michigan that there is a growing crisis across the state. What we wanted to do with this report is reach out to educators and engage them in identifying things that would keep them in the profession.”

Data from the Michigan Department of Education shows steep declines in teacher certification between 2014 and 2018.

Quinn said teacher burnout is clearly a problem.

“One of the things that educators in the classrooms were saying is that moving into an urban classroom requires that teachers have an urban experience, or a rural experience, that prepares them for that type of class room.”

He noted that many teachers spoke about feeling overwhelmed in trying to help some students deal with their trauma while also juggling the education needs of a classroom.

The report outlined nine primary solutions including hiring more support personnel, reducing reliance on standardized tests, and increasing recruiting bonuses for new teachers.