COVID-19

Schools courting former teachers to fill gaps

The state is waiving training rules for former teachers in order to get them to return to the classroom.

Michigan is in the midst of a teacher shortage. State data shows that teacher retirements rose 44% over the past year. And that doesn’t even take into account the number of teachers that have left the profession for other jobs.

In the midst of that, state leaders are reaching out to former teachers to help fill in the gaps ahead of next school year.

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In April, the Michigan Department of Education sent out emails to former teachers asking if they would be willing to return to the classroom. The request came with a promise to waive a requirement that they go through training to be recertified as teachers.

Of the more than 30,000 the department reached out to, roughly 1,200 expressed an interest. It’s not a huge number, but it would be helpful in returning schools to full staff.

“We’re trying to have an impact on the teacher shortage where we’re able,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice in an interview with Bridge Michigan, “recognizing there are limits to what one entity can do.”

Some parts of Michigan have been struggling with teacher shortages for years. That’s been exacerbated by a drop in the number of people going into teaching as a career in the first place.

Rice admits that recruiting former teachers is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. He said other things will need to be done to reverse years of declines in the teaching profession.

You can read the full story here.