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Governor Whitmer announces incentives to retain teachers amid shortages

(CBS DETROIT) – Keeping classrooms staffed with teachers is a growing concern in Michigan.

According to a 2022 report from the Michigan Education Association (MEA), 92% of schools say replacements are hard to find, while 71% saw a shortage of full-time teaching positions.

“Without dedicated people who are ready to fill these positions, it affects society at all levels, because there are only holes in people’s education if we don’t have qualified and compassionate people who are ready. get the job done,” Novi High School said. History teacher Christopher Capuano.

The report also reveals that 14% of teachers left the profession due to retirement.

“The teacher shortage is a concern across the country and we knew the needs were going to be serious and the pandemic has only exacerbated the teacher shortage,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said.

“So the progress we’ve made in this budget in terms of funding in our schools but also for student teachers has been driven by solving a problem where we have too few people entering the profession and too of people retiring or leaving.”

Whitmer joined educators and students Wednesday at Novi High School to discuss the challenges they face in the classroom.

She says her administration is investing $19.6 billion in K-12 education, a landmark spending plan.

“The highest investment per student in our state’s history at a time when we really need it more than ever,” Whitmer explained.

“Dedicated funds for mental health and school safety, funding for tutoring programs and to help our children get back on track for the long term.”

The budget includes incentives to retain teachers through funding for the Michigan Future Educators Research Fellowship, which pays up to $10,000 in tuition for 2,500 future Michigan educators each year.

Trainee teachers will also receive stipends of $9,600 per semester.

“Personally, I’m extremely excited. As we talked about earlier, one of the great things about teacher education programs is that you have this hands-on learning, so I’ve been in classrooms, I’ve been with students and it really makes you want to get into teaching,” said Logan Carter, a student teacher.

According to the findings of the MEA, an increase in salaries and bonuses could significantly improve teacher retention.

“And that’s why many of the choices we’ve made in this year’s budget are about supporting our workforce and bringing more people into the profession,” Whitmer explained.

“Nobody does this job because they think they’re going to get rich, but you should be able to make a good living. You should be able to take care of your families. You should be able to advance because these are really important jobs. »

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