Where are the teachers? Low enrollment in educational programs contributing to shortages in Michigan schools

'We just haven’t had a lot of respect for the profession of teaching in a long time.'
Posted at 12:48 PM, Aug 23, 2022

EASTPOINTE, Mich. (WXYZ) — As many school districts face teacher shortages, staying ahead of the curve is exactly what Eastpointe Community Schools says it’s trying to do to combat the issue.

In the halls and classrooms of Eastpointe Community Schools, Superintendent Christina Gibson says some teaching positions are classified as “hard to fill” including "staff certified in special education," which serves those who need additional support.

There’s also a shortage in highly qualified science and math teachers. Gibson says the data is trending downward nationally when it comes to higher education enrollment for teaching.

She says there’s also a lot of oversight for teachers imposed by state legislation.

Another void to fill is social workers.

“We have a big need for social workers and a big need in public education for caring for children. Our children have just gone through an event that none of us have ever gone through before,” Gibson said.

Eastpointe Federation of Educators President Lincoln Stocks explained reasons some are staying away from the profession.

Like Gibson, Stocks says the district and the union have a good working relationship when it comes to innovation.

Stocks says it would be beneficial for legislators to take the legislative reins off districts.

“Let the local elected boards, let the local superintendents and teachers do what they’ve been trained to do — to teach kids in their classroom,” Stocks said.

Gibson says the district has a partnership with Northern Michigan University to help meet staffing needs. For more information about that program, visit Eastpointe Community Schools' website or NMU's website.