Efforts to Address Teacher Shortage Expand With New State Funding
Michigan Department of Education Press Release LANSING – Efforts are expanding for local school districts in Michigan to cultivate new educators from within their own schools with significant investments by the State of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Education said today.
To provide all students access to high quality instruction, and in response to a persistent teacher shortage, Governor Gretchen Whitmer negotiated with the state legislature this year the funding of $575 million for a range of efforts to increase the teacher pipeline.
“We appreciate the governor and state legislature supporting and appropriating funds for scholarships, student teacher stipends, and Grow Your Own programs,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Support staff members are often deeply invested in their school communities with strong relationships with their students, and we need to invest in Grow Your Own programs, as we invest in, support, and educate our children.”
Of the $575 million appropriated in the FY23 budget upon negotiations between the governor and the state legislature, $175 million is for Grow Your Own programs for school support staff to become teachers, with an application process to be available later this month; $305 million is for fellowships/scholarships paying tuition and other costs of higher education, up to $10,000 per year for eligible aspiring teachers; $50 million is for student teacher stipends to pay $9,600 per semester for work as a student teacher; and $10 million is for intermediate school districts to recruit and hire career and technical education (CTE) instructors.
“We need to encourage members of our school communities to consider developing and using their talents as proud Michigan educators,” Governor Whitmer said. “That’s why I've worked hard to build Michigan’s teacher pipeline with investments in Grow Your Own programs, student teacher stipends, and more. This new funding will make a difference for students in communities across Michigan and bring high-quality educators into the profession. It is crucial for the state to support our next generation of educators as they invest in their local schools, and I am committed to continuing our work to attract and retain high quality educators.”
Last year, $1 million was appropriated to begin Grow Your Own efforts by MDE, which awarded grants to 26 local school districts LEAs to further support Future Proud Michigan Educator programs for 6-12 grade students with an interest in teaching as a career, and to additional school districts for 206 school staff members seeking teacher certification or additional endorsements.
This year, in part due to the overwhelming interest in the grant programs ($7 million in grant applications in FY22) and in part due to the department’s advocacy, the legislature authorized $175 million for Grow Your Own programs.
The expanded investments to address Michigan’s teacher shortage were in part due to department’s recommendations to the legislature and the governor, recommendations supported by the State Board of Education and nine leading statewide education organizations.
Grow Your Own programs support Michigan’s Top 10 Strategic Education Plan’s goal 7 to increase the numbers of certified teachers in areas of shortage. By providing funding for school employees to seek certification or additional endorsements, Grow Your Own staff programming grants will help to ensure that all students have access to a well-prepared teacher.
Dr. Rice added that Michigan must work on the issues of quantity, quality, and diversity in the teacher workforce.
“It matters that we have a diversity among our teachers,” Dr. Rice said. “We need an educator workforce that better reflects our students. While we have made strides in this area in the last six years, we have more work to do to have a more fully representative workforce.”
Research shows that early recruitment efforts and direct financial support for teacher preparation eliminate key barriers to individuals, especially teacher candidates from historically under-represented backgrounds.
The Grow Your Own initiatives are just part of MDE’s strategies to address the educator shortage in Michigan. Others include:
- Registered Apprenticeship programs for teachers represent a new pathway to teacher certification in Michigan that will permit young people to have teacher apprenticeships to earn while they learn through an existing educator preparation program with on-the-job training under the supervision of an experienced mentor teacher.
- EXPLORE program for students in grades 6-12 to engage in teaching experiences as students with supervision and mentoring by educators.
- The LAUNCH program for students who are interested in careers in education and other fields related to children, to become eligible for a credential for out of school time programming.
- Welcome Back/Welcome Home Proud Michigan Educator programs inviting former educators to re-enter the education workforce.
These programs are an extension of Michigan’s efforts to grow and diversify the educator workforce and reduce educator shortages throughout Michigan.