LANSING, Mich. (June 16, 2022) — Today, Senate Democrats, led by Sens. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) and Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), introduced a package of bills designed to attract and retain teachers in Michigan to address the educator shortage that has been many years in the making.

In February 2020, just before the pandemic, the Michigan Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers released a report finding that newly issued teacher certificates were down nearly 25% between the 2013-2014 and 2017-2018 school years. The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated the problem, and now, teachers are retiring faster than they can be replaced.

“Michigan’s teacher shortage is getting worse by the day, and it won’t go away unless we get proactive about recruiting and retaining excellent educators,” said Sen.Polehanki. “These bills will go a long way toward ensuring our hardworking teachers can stay in the profession long-term, so our students can have the world-class education they deserve at every level.”

Sen. Brinks added, “My Democratic colleagues and I are dedicated to fighting this teacher shortage in Michigan and doing what’s right for our kids for generations to come. By supporting new teachers and recruiting new prospects to the field as part of a future-focused strategy, we can strengthen our schools and empower our teachers to do what they do best.”

The legislation in the package includes:

  • The Student Teacher Stipend Act, which would provide a student teacher stipend up to $9,600 in total for service as a student teacher (Sen. Polehanki).
  • A resolution to eliminate higher education funding from the School Aid Fund. (Senate Joint Resolution Q, Sen. Polehanki).
  • A grant program to reimburse student teachers for the cost of childcare during their service by up to $10,000 (Senate Bill 1092, Sen. Brinks).
  • A grant program to pay for the cost of teacher professional development that is required with teacher certification (Senate Bill 1095, Sen. Brinks).
  • Expanded support for new teachers to provide coaching and a support system for teachers in their first three years of service (Senate Bill 1096, Sen. Stephanie Chang).
  • A loan repayment program for recently certified college graduates who commit to teaching, hold a valid teaching certificate, and are employed in a school (Senate Bill 1098, Sen. Rosemary Bayer).
  • Elimination of the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) requirement for out-of-state teachers with three years of successful performance evaluations in their previous state (Senate Bill 1097, Sen. Paul Wojno).
  • Elimination of the prohibition on wage and step increases, allowance of retroactive wage increases, and eliminates the insurance increases passed to employees when a contract expires (Senate Bill 1094, Sen. Marshall Bullock).
  • A no-cost pathway for support staff members to become certified teachers (Senate Bill 1100, Sen. Sean McCann).
  • A grant program for districts to provide hands-on learning experiences in grades 6-12 to encourage students to consider a career in education (Senate Bill 1099, Sen. Jeremy Moss).
  • A repeal of P.A. 53 of 2012, which prohibits school districts from collecting union dues or fees via payroll deduction (Senate Bill 1093, Sen. Erika Geiss).
  • A bill to eliminate cost sharing of unfunded actuarial accrued liabilities (Senate Bill 1101, Sen. Jim Ananich).