Detroit public schools say there aren’t enough teachers to meet the demand as schools reopen Monday

All schools, grade levels will return to classrooms; online option still available

Detroit public schools are preparing to reopen classrooms for face-to-face learning Monday, but only a small percent of teachers will be there.
Detroit public schools are preparing to reopen classrooms for face-to-face learning Monday, but only a small percent of teachers will be there.

DETROIT – An estimated 20,000 Detroit Public School Community District students are set to return to classrooms Monday, but their teachers may not be there.

READ: Detroit public schools to resume in-person learning on March 8

The DPSCD said there are not enough teachers who are willing to go back into classrooms to meet the demand.

An estimated 40% of the roughly 50,000 DPSCD students have opted to return to classrooms for in-person education, but only 20-30% of teachers have agreed to teach face-to-face.

Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti estimates only 1,000 students will have full face-to-face instruction.

READ: Student demand for in-person learning far outweighs the number of teachers willing to return in Detroit

Some parents spoke out and said they don’t want their children to be taught on a screen in a classroom.

“I don’t want to feel like I’m sending my kid to school to be babysat,” said Nicole Kimble.

Even thought schools within the DPSCD will return to in-person learning Monday, some parents -- like Kimble and Ta’Mara Williams -- are choosing to keep their students at home.

“I’m just not comfortable with sending them to school just yet. I feel that they’re not ready,” Kimble said. “The teachers are not ready and the students are not ready as well.”

The bottom line is that the in-person demand for in-person learning exceeds number of teachers willing to return to the classroom.

“I do want to send them to school but their teacher is not going to be there,” Williams said. “It’s a no win for me. It’s a no win at all.”

But all schools will still have the option to learn virtually, something Kimble thinks has been working just fine for her fourth and seventh graders.

“They’re doing fine online. They actually love it, but they do miss their friends,” Kimble said. “They do miss the interaction and they do miss their teachers.”

And for now learning from the computer screen will just have to work for William’s kindergartener and second grader.

“My goal is to keep them at home until the teachers become available and efficient to go back to school to start learning face-to-face with the children,” Williams said. “It’s about the teachers wanting to be there as well. They play a big part in the learning process for the children if they’re going to be face-to-face.”

Teachers were offered an incentive of an additional $750 quarter for returning to the building in the pandemic, but even with that, the number of teachers willing to return is still quite low.

More: Return To School


About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.