Detroit Public Schools has teacher shortage

District reports 170 teaching position vacancies

The district has 170 teaching position vacancies.
The district has 170 teaching position vacancies.

DETROIT – For Debora Lewis, the number of students in her 8th-grade daughter's classroom at Spain Elementary/Middle School in Midtown is concerning.

"It should be no more than 25 students per class because you got one teacher in the classroom. Some of them have aides. Some of them don't. It makes a difference," she said.

According to Detroit Public Schools (DPS), the district has 170 teaching position vacancies this school year -- 43 of those are in secondary math and science, early childhood education, special education and world languages.

Michelle Zdrodowski is the spokesperson for the district. She said the district is actively looking for teachers.

"If we got a teacher here at DPS that another district offers more money to, why wouldn't they go that way?" she said. "We are looking at hiring retired teachers that can come back in and teach for a certain amount of time. We're employing TFA -- Teach for America."

As DPS searches for qualified teachers, schools are making due with less and putting substitute teachers in some classroom.

"We try to limit it. We try not to have it be long term but there are some areas where we have to do it," said Zdrodowski.

A spokesman for the Detroit Federation of Teachers union said the biggest reason DPS faces this teaching shortage is pay.