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First-of-its-kind report explains key factors in Michigan’s educator shortage

Posted at 2:42 PM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 15:17:28-05

LANSING, Mich. — A new report that collected input from 120 public educators from across Michigan identified inadequate compensation, student loan debt and lack of input in policymaking as the most common reasons educators are considering leaving the profession.

“By the time I graduated from college, I had more than $100,000 in student loan debt, but was promised a large chunk of that debt would be forgiven” said Stefanie Sedlar, a Mount Pleasant Public Schools special education teacher. “To date, those promises haven’t been kept, and I’ve had to put raising a family on hold to make ends meet. I love my kids, and forgiveness of my student loans will help me continue to serve them for the foreseeable future.”

“As a special education teacher of nearly 30 years, I’ve dedicated my career to helping kids with severe learning challenges succeed in the classroom and beyond,” said Heather Gauck, who teaches in Grand Rapids Public Schools. “As special education teachers, we know our kids and the challenges they face best. It’s time for state lawmakers to take time to listen to frontline educators like myself before making polices that impact the future of our kids.”

“Our state lawmakers rarely seek input from those on the frontlines of preparing our kids for success – our public educators,” said Donna Roark, assistant superintendent of personnel for Niles Community Schools. “Instead, our educators only continue to receive new and unrealistic requirements that make it harder for them to help students succeed. We must begin making our educators part of the discussion to continue attracting new, enthusiastic teachers to our classrooms.”

Read the full report here [].

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