Education leaders say teacher shortages, learning loss among top issues at Michigan schools

Officials call on lawmakers to release funding

Teacher shortages, learning loss among top issues at Metro Detroit schools
Teacher shortages, learning loss among top issues at Metro Detroit schools

DETROIT – On Tuesday, the K-12 Alliance of Michigan -- representing hundreds of thousands of students, teachers and schools -- held a roundtable to give a glimpse of issues facing students, teachers and learning.

One issue being the $1.6 billion federal allocation signed by then-President Donald Trump that has not yet shown in the state as well as the debate over who should control what in Lansing.

“We need the governor and Legislature to come together and commit to putting politics aside, getting the stimulus money out the door and getting a budget put in place by June 1 that put the needs of our students first,” said Robert McCann with K-12 Alliance of Michigan.

READ: Michigan leaders say schools need $1 billion to recover from COVID financial toll

READ: Michigan GOP: No aid for K-12 schools unless Whitmer cedes power to ban in-person learning, sports

“I would say to Republicans to find a different bargaining chip, education is not it,” said Kevin Miller with St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency. “To put children, families, school districts in the middle of this disagreement in Lansing, it makes me crazy.”

Learning loss is real and measurable and now educators are trying to figure out a learning recovery.

“The data shows that with reading and particularly math, there’s been a lot of learning loss and that’s in just the two or three assessments we’ve done in the local level,” said Mike DeVault with the Macomb Intermediate School District.

“When we’re doing this learning recovery with out students, it doesn’t end in 15 months but it continues for the years up to come,” said Randy Liepa with Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency.

Additionally, there’s teacher shortage.

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“What we’re hearing is lots of retirements and a thinner pool as it relates to candidates,” Liepa said.

Intermediate school districts and county superintendents are figuring out creative ways to comb over the loss of teachers while looking for ways to encourage new candidates to think about joining educators by starting a teacher cadet program.

“One way is to get kids, particularly minority and low-poverty kids, do tutoring throughout the summer and school, and pay them. So, both they get a professional experience and they get a positive relationship, and they contribute to helping with this learning loss,” DeVault said.


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