Michigan continues to see understaffed school districts

Michigan continues to see understaffed school districts
Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 9:59 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Across the nation, school districts are struggling to find qualified teachers.

The Lansing School District alone has 55 openings. At one point, they were paying substitute teachers as much a $300 a day to help fill all the classroom needs.

In a survey done by the Michigan Education Association, most teachers said hiring additional staff would help get people to stay, but the only problem is there aren’t a lot of students looking to become educators to provide that relief.

“I think teachers deserve to be paid more,” said Morgan Webb. “I think that’s such a big thing.”

Webb is a senior at Michigan State University and majoring in education. As someone who has dedicated herself to becoming a teacher, she said a huge concern she and her classmates have is the salary. Also, with the violence that becomes more prevalent each week, she believes the risk should match the reward.

“I think with the current events -- that’s the biggest thing right now that worries me. I mean, it’s like a whole new responsibility that teachers have,” Webb said. “Obviously, we’ve always been there to protect the students. But, now it’s protecting them in a different way.”

“We’re getting to a point where teachers and other school employees are at their limit,” said Thomas Morgan, a spokesperson for the Michigan Education Association.

Morgan said current educators feel the same way. In fact, in the coming years, they are expecting an even bigger exodus than Michigan is currently experiencing.

“A recent survey we did showed that one in five Michigan educators is looking to change careers in the next couple of years,” Morgan said.

So what’s the answer? Webb and Morgan agree that teachers need more recognition, not just financially, but societally.

“I think through COVID, it became a little bit more apparent that teachers should be paid more as parents had to start teaching their kids and kids weren’t getting an education,” Webb said. “I think people saw how important that was and kids were struggling after that.”

Between 2020 and 2021′s fall enrollments, the Michigan State University College of Education saw an increase of three students. It was the first enrollment increase in 10 years.

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