Fewer Michigan college students want to be teachers. That’s a problem.

Julia Alvarez

Michigan State senior Julia Alvarez is one of a shrinking number of students in teacher prep programs in Michigan colleges and universities. (Courtesy photo)

Julia Alvarez knows all the reasons not to be a teacher. The pay is low. The hours are long. And some people don’t have great memories of their time in classrooms.

But the negatives don’t outweigh the positives of teaching for the 21-year-old Michigan State University senior majoring in elementary education. “I want to do something I am passionate about, and wake up every day ready to go to work,” Alvarez said.

Fewer college students are making that choice. Low salaries and negative perceptions of teaching are driving Michigan college students away from teacher preparation programs, hobbling efforts to improve the state’s struggling schools. Fewer teachers with four-year education degrees has also meant more Michigan classrooms led by long-term substitutes, who generally have far less training.

Enrollment at Michigan’s teacher preparation programs dropped 70 percent in eight years. There were 16,000 fewer college students majoring in K-12 education degree programs in 2016-17 school year (the most recent year statistics are available) than there were 2008-09, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education. 

Those 16,000 fewer potential teachers are the equivalent of one-sixth of Michigan’s current public school teaching workforce.

The number who graduated from the state’s college-based teacher prep programs – the primary pipeline for new classroom instructors – dropped 45 percent between 2011 and 2017, from 4,863 to 2,659.

While federal data are not available for the current school year, enrollment in teacher preparation programs at Michigan State University, Central Michigan University and the University of Michigan, three of the state’s largest educators of future teachers, have continued to decline or have remained flat since 2016-17.

Current enrollment levels won’t address teacher shortages that now exist in some areas of the state, said Elizabeth Birr Moje, dean of the School of Education at the University of Michigan, where undergrad enrollment has dropped by a third in the past decade.


“We're not filling the slots,” Moje said. “We need to be producing more teachers who are well prepared [and] who have been taught how to teach.”

In the 2018-19 school year, more than 2,500 Michigan classrooms were led by long-term substitutes, who generally are not certified teachers and can have as little as 60 college credits in any subject area and no education background. Traditional certified teachers are graduates of a teacher education program at a four-year university and complete at least one semester as a student teacher. 

As Bridge Magazine first reported, the use of long-term substitutes has ballooned tenfold in five years, as the state’s public schools, particularly urban and rural traditional school districts and charter schools, faced a growing shortage of certified teachers.

Those shortages will likely expand to the rest of the state if the pipeline of new teachers continues to shrink, Moje said.

“We’re headed toward a wave of [teacher] retirements,” Moje said. “We have a lot of people in their late 50s and early 60s, and when the Baby Boomer generation retires, we’re going to see teacher shortages in more places.”

Annual admissions to CMU’s teacher prep degree program dropped by two-thirds between 2012 and 2016, (from 567 to 194), though enrollment has bounced back somewhat and was 385 last school year.

Elizabeth Kirby, dean of Central Michigan’s College of Education and Human Services, said teacher prep programs were hit by a “perfect storm” of stagnating pay, coarsening views of the profession, and a new teacher certification test that many teacher candidates couldn’t pass.

In 2013, Michigan replaced a basic skills test that was deemed too easy, with a widely panned test that two-thirds of aspiring teachers failed. That test was replaced, but not before thousands of college students transferred out of education, Kirby said.

“It wasn’t that we didn’t have students who wanted to be teachers,” Kirby said. “They did, but they couldn’t pass the exam.”

Meanwhile, teacher pay declined in the state. 

Average teacher pay in Michigan was lower in 2017-18 ($61,908) than in 2009-10 ($63,024), even without taking inflation into account. The recession caused mass teacher layoffs and classroom sizes to increase, Kirby said, making what had been a safe career into a risky job that, nationally, pays 20 percent less than the earnings of professionals with comparable education backgrounds.

Despite the decline in pay, Michigan teachers still earn $2,200 a year above the national average, in a state with the seventh-lowest cost of living.

Teacher accountability measures, such as basing their evaluations at least in part on student test scores, made the job more stressful and added paperwork, teacher advocates say.

Adding to those factors, “the public perception of teachers is very disrespectful,” Kirby said. “Teaching is often a family profession, and I think teachers began discouraging their children from becoming teachers.”

In a recent survey, just 20 percent of Michigan teachers said they would recommend the profession to family and friends.

Craig Thiel, research director for Citizens Research Council and author of a recent report on Michigan’s leaky teacher pipeline, theorized that teacher prep programs have been the victim of a strong economy that allowed students who might in the past have considered a career in teaching to get jobs in other, better-paying professions.

To reverse the declining enrollment, “we have to commit to paying teachers more,” said Moje of U-M. “I don't know that it even has to be massive increase, but if we want professional performance, we have to be willing to pay people as professionals.”

Teachers in some states have gone on strike for better pay and improved overall school funding, and succeeded in states such as Colorado and West Virginia. Those states, though, had average teacher salaries in the bottom half of the nation; Michigan teacher pay ranks 13th.

Once in the classroom, teachers need more support, such as literacy coaches, teaching assistants and mentor teachers, Moje said.

“Teaching is actually harder than it ever was before,” Moje said. “They deal with things like trauma, things like stress and anxiety, things like multiple languages spoken in the classroom. All of those things make the job more demanding.”

CMU’s Kirby suggested that one way to make the job more financially attractive is to launch a state-level student loan debt forgiveness program for teachers who work five years in urban or rural schools, and offer state scholarships targeted at students enrolled in teacher prep programs.

MSU student Alvarez said she knows the challenges that lie ahead of her when she leaves campus and walks into a classroom. It won’t be easy. But it will be important.

“I just know our world can look so different,” Alvarez said, “and I think it starts in those spaces.”

Mike Wilkinson contributed

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

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Thu, 10/17/2019 - 8:17am

Teaching has traditionally been a female occupation, there are many more opportunities for other careers for women now then there used to be so that is probably part of the problem in attracting students to the profession.

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 9:03am

The hater attacks (teachers are godless liberals, teachers are union stooges, teachers only work 9 months, teachers earn more than the average of others in a community, teaching doesn't really require skill) have succeeded: kids no longer want to study and pay the cost of becoming a certified teacher.

Who could have guessed?

Sat, 10/19/2019 - 10:14pm

You remind me of the 'haters' because you claim their comments are working and yet you don't wonder why? You don't show any interest in who is in the classroom to learn, you do ask about anything you only condemn others.
What is there to talk to you about when you aren't interested in changing anything. I know this is not just you, it includes many of those commenting here. mike who is married to a teacher and he identifies some issues the impact teachers desire to teach, but no one is asking him questions about what are the most pressing issues and why.
There is no glaring answer, we need conversation on the topic but we are hearing any.

Lorraine Grinnell
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 9:14am

Truth - The teaching profession has been demonized by the Republican party as part of a war on public education and organized labor in this state. They attacked pay, pensions, unions, staff morale and created a sub-contracted world for support positions. These negative job-killing efforts have brought us to this place.

Bryan Kirby
Sun, 10/20/2019 - 9:01pm

The profession has demonized itself

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 9:23am

I know a woman who has been teaching high school math for 6 years. She loves the teaching aspects of the job, the students, fellow teachers. What she is sick of is the bloated administration not backing her, not paying attention to teacher suggestions and input and the plethora of union rules and bickering. She's ready to quit. What needs to be fixed is the Public Education Industry system. Get rid of all that middle management and use the savings to pay real teachers twice what they are making now.

Wed, 10/23/2019 - 9:28am

Except in some of our largest suburban districts in fairly affluent areas, there is very little middle management in our public schools. In fact administrative positions along with teaching and support staff positions were cut during the recession and the declining enrollment trend that continues today in many urban and rural schools. What has increased are State mandates and legislative regulations that have added loads of extra recording and reporting requirements for both teachers and administrators. The per pupil foundation allowance was higher in 2006-2007 than it was in 2014-2015. Districts are still trying to recover from that period of cuts to budgets, programs and staff. Many districts during that same time froze or reduced salaries for teachers and administrators and decreased the paid fringe benefits in their contracts.
Now that we have climbed back out of the long recession, legislators are still unwilling to take the bold steps necessary to restore our Michigan schools to the position of prominence they once held as national leaders in public duration. In 1994 ou State made a bold move when voters increased the sales tax and reduced the amount of property tax dedicated to school funding by passing Prop A. It worked to somewhat move us to a more equitable funding method for school districts for many years. In today's economy it noe longer functions to do that. The School Finance Research Collaborative produced a comprehensive and well researched report and made specific recommendations about how Michigan should be structuring our school funding. Unfortunately we have become enamored of the "no new taxes" political philosophy. We want new roads and bridges, a better energy grid, great schools, well staffed public safety departments, etc. we really don't want to pay for them though, and our politicians have convinced us that we already have enough funding to do all of the things we need to do to restore our State. It defies logic and begs the question - If we have enough funding to do it all, why haven't we reversed the trend of decline?

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 9:31am

The State of Michigan cut funding to K-12 schools which caused already low salaries to be cut. The state also took away teacher's pensions, and required teacher's to pay much more for healthcare. What incentive is left for capable young college graduates to go into education? The pay has always been low, but the benefits used to be great. This is no longer true. If we want to attract people to education, benefits need to be restored. Can we, as a state, afford to not have qualified teachers shaping our future doctors, lawyers, engineers, nurses, etc..?

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 9:07pm

Just to be factual here and not judging anything else, Michigan teachers are in the top 25% for average pay across the nation and that's before adjusting for relative cost of living in MI verses many higher paying locations which make Michigan even better. Starting teachers don't fare as well and could use some help. but again adjusting for COL rise significantly in rankings. Not that there aren't problems with the job, EVERY single job has them, and without the very nice time off. Maybe kids aren't going into the occupation because of this almost constant song of woe which has become an expectation to those outside of the profession? https://www.businessinsider.com/teacher-salary-in-every-state-2018-4

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 9:58am

Thank you Bridge Magazine for your reporting on this. As a district leader I worry about the shortage of teachers every day. With the next wave of retirees in my district I will lose veteran teachers in key content areas that I know we'll have a hard time replacing.

Teacher pay is the problem. No one likes to hear that, but anyone who focuses on anything else is kidding themselves or trying to fool the populace. I've proposed, to my state legislators, requiring more days for students and teachers and adding to the school aid fund increases commensurate with those increases. Students have to cover more content than ever and teachers need more time to spend on all of the data we collect on kids. If the state required 190 days for kids and 200 days for teachers and added equivalent funding to school aid, we'd do a good deal to help more kids and, in increasing salaries, hopefully attract more kids into the profession.

Regardless of what we do, we must do something to put high quality teachers into classrooms across the state. In many areas of the state we are in crisis mode. I am continually frustrated that Lansing does not seem to get the sense of urgency we are facing in schools.

Bob Sornson
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 10:25am

Enrollment at Michigan’s teacher preparation programs dropped 70 percent in eight years. That is not a leaky pipe, but a pipe that is corroded and damaged beyond repair. The vision in place for Michigan public schools is failing both students and educators. This reduction in interest in becoming a teacher is not a small leak. It is a loud call for reform outside the thinking of the bureaucrats and politicians who have led us down the merry path to these disastrous consequences.

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 3:58pm

I agree.

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 11:44am

Working in the real world and married to an elementary school teacher i find it amazing we still have have dedicated teachers who put up with all the annoyances, while watching their annual pay go down every year. Retirements are no surprise because after 30 years most teachers are working for half price if they stay. Unfortunately no one has mentioned the bane of most teachers is the addition of various social requirements imposed on the classroom. Don't push the kids too hard with homework, don't impose rules that mommy and daddy find too harsh, and prepare to meet with the administrators and parents when they are unhappy with a grade, and the admin will throw the teacher under the bus. And of course don't forget everyone is the same, so if the teacher needs to spend 50% of their time with the two mainstreamed kids, the other 22 kids wills get along fine. I know they get para-pro's to help, yeah right.

Ed of GB
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 9:41pm

Mike I think you are closer to the problem than the other comments. Pay will never make up for a lack of respect from the students and parents that I hear about. I came from a generation that your parents would punish you if a teacher said you caused problems. Now it is the reverse. We have indoctrinated teachers to not show Christian values, or believe in America. Honoring the flag or God is banned. We see similar disrespect in the nursing industry (my wife is a career nurse). The police see the same. There is a lot of folks to blame, politicians that tell us cops are stupid, college professors that believe socialism is the solution and everybody should get things for free that taxpayers pay for. And parents who believe Johny could never do wrong. God help us.

Chuck Jordan
Fri, 10/18/2019 - 12:43pm

Mike, you nailed it. Maybe it is somewhat the money and fewer benefits, especially health insurance, but primarily it is the way teachers are treated in the class room and in our culture.

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 11:45am

Everyone focuses on money, but there is more to it. Spend a few days in a class room and talking to teachers, it isn't exactly all sunshine and rainbows. Anything happens in the classroom, teachers are on the defensive from all sides as everyone now assumes it is their fault. Even if a teacher is right, administrators won't support them if it makes them look bad. Government mandates interfere with everything. Kids absolutely know they can run the classroom and there is little a teacher can do about it. I substitute taught in a class where there had to be 2 teachers every day for one period. On top of this, people don't trust most upper district management. Every time a district wants money for improvements, the community is never told the entire story. Costs to the taxpayers are always under estimated, costs of the project are always inflated, direct questions are deflected with obscure answers. Then people see teachers wanting more money. It is a no win situation and who can blame fewer people wanting to have this career.

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 3:57pm

You are correct. Also, how come no one on here talks about how much larger districts expenses have been and examine that? It's only, "give me more money." Get rid of most all the upper and middle management.

Paul Jordan
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 12:24pm

Congratulations to Michigan's Republicans! You've done a spectacularly successful job over the past 35 years of making teaching an undesirable profession. You have consistently blamed teachers for your failures, reduced their teaching time by burdening them with bureaucratic duties, micromanaged them, undermined their unions, and made it impossible for them to earn enough money to pay off their school debts, live comfortably, and eventually retire with an adequate pension (and all while calling it 'reform').
Well done! Pat yourselves on the back--the goal of increasing the ignorance of Michigan's young people is well within your reach!

Prof Kenneth Ea...
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 1:59pm

Michigan Republicans are always claiming they want "Educational Reform". They are led by Betsy and Dick DeVos, who are owners of the Publicly Funded Private Schools called "Public" Charter Schools.

They have helped push "reforms" through the State Legislature during the past 35+ years. Most legislators are either lawyers or business people. Who really knows best what "reforms" education in Michigan needs? It is not the members of the School Boards [they are really interested in protecting the 587 public school districts in Michigan and their jobs as board members], not the School Administrators in these 587 districts and their administrative staffs because they want to protect their jobs, not all the coaches and athletic directors who have made the public school interscholastic sports a training ground for big time university and professional sports, not even the parents who usually believe that their schools are the best in the area. No the people who really know what improvements are needed are the professional teachers in the classrooms. Guess which of these groups is belittled and ignored by the "Reformers". I don't need to tell you answer.

When students see their teachers belittled, ignored, over burdened with meaningless state forms and requirements, working 60 to 80 hours a week to grade the students, plan effective lesson plans and being paid for 35 hours, is it any wonder that they decide to go into a different field of study.

I'm a retired professional certified teacher and Community College Professor and I would tell any student who asked me if they should consider teaching [including for the Community Colleges -- where the only job I ever could find was being a adjunct] I would tell them that they would be crazy to even consider it. There are so many professions which talented students can choose there is no reason to become a teacher and take all the abuse I took over the years.

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 6:56am

Nicely said by you and so many others but the message is still not heard by the GOP. One exception " undermined by unions" I have to take issue with that comment, a union is only as good and strong as those invested in them. Those teachers that take part are stymied by those whose negative views espoused of unions and even teachers involved in that brotherhood. Sadly they blame the unions who are actually just the teachers who they speak for. Unions can improve from the bottom up and some may say they are too bloated and due for introspective change.

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 6:56am

Nicely said by you and so many others but the message is still not heard by the GOP. One exception " undermined by unions" I have to take issue with that comment, a union is only as good and strong as those invested in them. Those teachers that take part are stymied by those whose negative views espoused of unions and even teachers involved in that brotherhood. Sadly they blame the unions who are actually just the teachers who they speak for. Unions can improve from the bottom up and some may say they are too bloated and due for introspective change.

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 1:05pm

Have you found out why Oakland University is the only one keeping their number stable? I am curious about that. I am an OU Professor, but not in our Education division. There must be something useful to learn in answering that question.

Prof Kenneth Ea...
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 1:31pm

When I started my teaching career in 1966 we were respected and supported by the parents and the whole community of Wayland. When we had contract disputes with the School Board the whole community support us. We weren't well paid, but we often received unexpected "discounts" from the local businesses. We paid our own health insurance and 1/3 of the cost of our future generous pensions.

Now the GOP has blamed us for high taxes, failing students, not providing out of our small pay the instructional materials our students need, and the Charter Schools Billionaires have declared the Real Public Schools all failures. Many members of the community believe them and are willing to believe anything bad about professional teachers.

Hosea 8:7 says "They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up." In the case of Michigan's public schools the GOP has sowed the wind and now the Schools of Education have stopped producing a stream of certified teachers and the Charter Schools, which willingly hire unqualified instructors will reap the money, and our future generation will starve.

We knew the time would come. It just took longer than I expected.

James Roberts
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 10:21pm

Professor, i believe you are right. Appears the oversupply of people wanting to be public school teachers is gone and i would hope result on incentives coming back to encourage good people to go into teaching again. However there is a long way to go there, as most teachers i know strongly discourage their kids from pursuing it as a career. It is not just the money, afraid it is no longer considered an honorable profession by the general populace, perhaps per annoyance their government benefits still beat what the rest of the working class gets. The parents i know don't appear too proud their kid has chosen teaching as a career, you mean they couldn't get a real job? As for adjunct teachers at the various colleges, afraid that oversupply remains well established, if the schools can fill their needs with em, they will as cheaply as they can as long as there are those willing to teach classes per diem.

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 9:30am

Please identify those who became billionaires off of charter schools, if that's your accusation, along with the GOP politicians blaming teachers for not personally paying for school materials, or is this just a nifty bit of sloganeering? Also interesting touch using Biblical verse which the institutions you apparently support have relegated to the cultural trash heap.

Sun, 10/20/2019 - 5:34pm

You seem to expect respect, respect is best earned it last longer and survives disappointments. Respect is built on the value seen in the service provided. The greater that value the greater valued the providers.
When you began your career the those who had added education [doctors, lawyers, teachers, and such] were more visible and the value of their education more apparent. Today, how often do you see education personalized and valued. In my town it is the politicians that get the most visibility and there is little or no mention of their education and how it enhances their work.
In my town the students receiving greatest attention aren't about academic achievement. The athletes and their coaches receive regular notoriety, but when does a teacher and their students receive notoriety for learning success, not even the teachers themselves work at the perception of their profession.
If you and your peers want success, what people to appreciate the value of learning and the service you provide then work at it.
In my [science based] career I learned you had to market your ideas even with your peers, you had to develop metrics to measure the value created and be active in presenting that information to others.
If you want respect, work at it.

middle of the mit
Sun, 10/27/2019 - 3:15am


What are you doing? You are expecting more than ideas from someone? What more could you expect when truth, facts and even education can only be expressed by what you learned when you learned it? If you were in collage 19 years ago, sure you have some experience in the field, but have you kept up with the field for 20 years like those that are teaching are required to? Or have you relied on YOUR own experience and what you have perceived? Where are your credentials, since you asked for mine?

By the by. I don't have any. A few certificates in the trades and yet, I know why gravity exists. Have you tried out my merry-go-round experiment yet?

You won't give teachers respect because you don't believe they have earned it. Ask them if they know why gravity is. (You will probably get a MAJOR eyeroll)

That is why I have no respect for your opinion or your "perception". I have already changed your "perception' of medical cannabis even though your educated mind still can't get behind the fact that employers require drug tests for using heavy equipment.

Athletes get respect because most people use that as an outlet or the only way they will ever get into collage. And they consider them heroes. Do they learn anything that will help them in real life? Because teamwork isn't going to help them in a world full of individuals looking out for no one but themselves.

YOU want to know why teachers don't get any respect, yet you refuse any respect because of your "perception". Maybe your "perception" has been spread so wide that it will take longer to get rid of than you "perceiving" that stoners are worse than wife beaters?

In your science based career, most of the scientists KNOW WHY GRAVITY IS!


Mon, 10/28/2019 - 1:18am

All I can do is share what I have learned and hope those who read it find value they can use. When I talk about respect it is about how to develop it, who can benefit from having others respect, assuming/expecting respect is something that happened in the past, today respect is earned not given for who you are or the office/position you have. With regard to people working to create greater value, we live in a competitive market economy [even the communist countries have to compete in the global market place]. That competition is measure by the value, and succeeding value [cost, features, service]. If my employer is always working to improve value then as an employee I need to work to ever improve my value, otherwise how will my employer grow and how will I grow?
I don’t ask for credentials when having a conversation about ideas. My view, already stated on Bridge, about certification is a verification of a set of knowledge and skills and not of performance.
I respect people for what they do, how they do it, what they will sacrifice to do it, and that think. There have been many teachers over the years that I have respected, and there have been a some sprinkled in those years that were so bad that they never did earn my respect. That has also been true of many other professions and people throughout my life. I have been in situations where my credibility, trust, were an important part of achieving desired results and I worked at building and justifying the respect of others. I learned and applied the lesson of gaining the respect of the public [those outside my organization] and my peers. I appreciate the value of respect and that is why I speak out about it.
“That is why I have no respect for your opinion or your "perception".” How and why you give respect to others, I do know, your respect is your own to give or with hold.
“I have already changed your "perception' of medical cannabis even though your educated mind still can't get behind the fact that employers require drug tests for using heavy equipment.” Since we only talked about your view on how the police’s perspective on cannabis, and my only comment outside of that was, I didn’t care about personal activities behind ‘closed doors’, I don’t understand why I changed at all.
I am surprised you feel people believe they only way they will get into college is through athletics since so few that go to college do play sports in college.
“Because teamwork isn't going to help them in a world full of individuals looking out for no one but themselves.” This surprises me, very little that I have done in my working life was without team work, people working together with a common cause or focus on a particular problem or activity or task. We each have a role/responsibilities that needed to be fulfilled and coordinate with others or what we were working to achieve would be disrupted.
“most of the scientists KNOW WHY GRAVITY IS!” Have you asked them to explain the why of gravity? You often link articles to reinforce what you are saying or as poof, where is your link to why gravity works. The descriptions I have heard and read are about how gravity is a nature phenomenon that matter and energy are affected by, but not about why there is gravity. There is a difference between being able to measure something like the weight of an object or how it’s deflected, and how the affect are predictable, but that is not explaining why gravity exists. Hawkins said that gravity cause the ‘big bang’ that created the universe, but he didn’t describe why there is gravity or what created gravity. I would like to know why there is gravity; why/how it was created.
I first became aware of this dichotomy in school, in physics, it became a topic of conversation and the lesson was we don’t know why, but we know how measure its impacts what we look at in science, so we use what we can measure and build out the science. To avoid any confusion, gravity is not magnetism [caused by the flow of electrons].

Wed, 10/30/2019 - 1:29pm

You seem to be struggling with the concept of why something exists and how that differs from its effect. Gravity exists; we feel its effects every day. We can calculate its effect based on mass and distance. What is magic about it is we don’t know, so let’s call it magic. Stephen Hawkins said it was gravity that created the ‘big bang’, which gave us the universe and all that is in it. That raises the question of who gave us this magic, and in effect gave us existence.

I went to public school, and that is where I learned it is what the student does determines learning not the teachers. The teachers that had the most impact on my learning were the ones who triggered a desire in me to do the homework, to practice, to apply what they had taught. What I saw was the same kids did better than the rest of us no matter the teacher, we knew they would do well before the school year began because we knew they would sacrifice doing the homework, and the rest of us would do less well because to varying degrees we would do less homework. The farther we progressed in school the more the student determined their academic success, doing homework became more critical to learning.
The need/benefit of representation [no matter the nature of work] is a function of the quality of the administration of the organizations. I have worked in facilities that were union represented for generations [and still are], ones that were non-union from their inception, ones that were unionized from their inception and decertified more than a generation later. Probably the people [labor] that were the most effective at influencing their work environment and best at relations with management outside their facility were the facilities that had decertified. My lesson was that where the trust [all concerned] in the environment was greatest the individuals had he most responsibility and associated authority. Even within the unionized facilities those where trust was high the responsibility/authority for the work was placed with the person doing the work.
I could only guess at why other people’s kids act as they do, but I place a lot of weight on the trust and how it has been built. The earlier parents can give kids responsibility and how they hold them accountable the sooner the kids and parents learn to trust each other and the more they listen to each other and support each other. With trust the parents evolve from boundaries into guides, and the children use their parents rather than their peers as the test for their actions.
I ask questions rather than give answers because I want to hear the conversation and learn knew perspectives and test such perspectives in my thinking and to hear new ideas or new spins to ideas. I also use questions to try to minimize people digging in deeper to defend a position. Questions and better yet the right questions do three things; it creates a pause in the conversation and a pause in thinking [it allows emotions to be interrupted], it breaks down walls by encourage people to let go of established thinking and consider the question [possibly from a new perspective], and it opens up minds to the response of others [who are going through the same disruption of reacting]. Pick a something you have strong feelings/answers to and let me offer three different ways to ask a question about it and see if any of the effects I mention happen.
I don’t fear listening to ideas; I want to find that kernel in the idea that can use and built on. Socialism as an example, socialism ignores the nature of individuals [the value of the feedback/accomplishment] that is a weakness, while the idea of support for others can benefit us all. Each time I hear someone describing their version of socialism I listen for their kernel of an idea to consider. I have built my ideas a ‘brick’ at a time, I have had them pushed back on in some extreme ways, I have even taken down some of those ‘bricks’ to replace them with slightly different ones, I have not been afraid of adapting so I don’t feel at risk hear different ideas, different perspective [I look forward to it].
What are the conservative ideas that are so disappointing to you and I will offer how I view them to see if I am a ‘conservative’ [ I believe I am and others have told me so, even my brother who is an admitted ‘liberal’].
I live on one of the very few ‘gravel’ roads [it is part of a public parking area that is actively use most of the year, even around the clock] in this urban [the media calls it urban] setting. But gravel would be inappropriate for the use we put our roads to, but if you have been driving in the farming areas of Minnesota, Iowa, and the Dakotas dirt roads are fine for the equipment they are driving on them at low speeds. Gravel roads between Jackson and Ann Arbor wouldn’t be that effective, but get outside of Hillsdale they should be fine.
Trickle down is simply a political catch phrase that people have tried to make into and economic principle. However, it is the people who spend their money that feed [money the life blood of] organizations whether for profit or not for profit]. Money is the clearest and most common metric for accountability.

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 1:47pm

60 years ago, there were mainly teachers in the schools, with very few administrators. Elementary schools had one principal and maybe a nurse. Jr. High had one principal and the vice principal was also a math teacher. High school had only a principal and a vice principal, and a couple of guidance counselors. So teachers got the largest slice of the pay pie.

Kids were also better behaved. Parents never took the side of the kid, and handled all the discipline at home. Plus the parents were very involved in PTA, band boosters, and the sports clubs.

Today, the teachers get none of that support. They are abused by students, parents, and have untold number of specialists telling them what to do. Be a teacher today? Never.

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 2:44pm

"pays 20 percent less than the earnings of professionals with comparable education backgrounds" Isn't that comparison intentionally misleading? Another person with a 4-year business degree may work 49 weeks out of the year (assuming 3 weeks vacations). Holidays being equal, a teacher with a 4-year degree would work roughly 40 weeks out of the year (200 school days). Doesn't that equate to working about 20% fewer days per year? I would say that someone is twisting the statistics to support their bias.

Sat, 10/19/2019 - 9:46am

I'm surprised anybody goes into teaching anymore.

Sat, 10/19/2019 - 10:00pm

I am coming to understand why the availabilities of [certified] teachers is dwindling, this article tells so much. Not in what it says about what is wrong but how it says nothing about who is asking why, who has realized that education hasn't really changed in nearly a hundred years while our culture has drastically changed in that same time, who is looking at why other degrees and professions are drawing off the people that became teachers in time gone by, who is asking how have the people we want changed what they want.
We are getting the answers from the past and we need people of the future. What we need is better questions and less conscientious on the answers.
A simple example, how has the classroom changed in the last few generations compared how our society has changed. In my profession the people gain in responsibility and gained authority to deliver on that responsibility, increased expectations for greater creativity in the means/methods to improve results, teams are formed to facilitate changes in direct support of the responsible person, the expectation is to know who you are serving and adapt to their needs . Has any of those type changes happened in classrooms?
All we hear about is money, we hear nothing about how the role/responsibilities and authority of the teacher has changed.
Money will not solve the problem because all you will buy are those seeing the money and not those who embrace the role of teacher.
The other facet of the teacher dilemma is that lack of interest in the students, no one consider how the student has changed or how the student perceives education/learning. We hear about 'wealthy' and 'poor' districts/schools and how the student performance reflects that difference but has question why and how do the student perceives learning in each setting? If you do understand those you serve how can you expect to hire the right people for the particular classrooms?
It is time to ask the right questions so the answers we get to chose from will be the best for the future.

middle of the mit
Sat, 10/19/2019 - 10:56pm

With the current "weather" or should I say "perception" toward teachers I am reminded of "Married with Children". Just punch that and school teachers into your favorite browser and you will see what I mean.

Republicans have been hating on teachers for decades. Makes you wonder why they don't like people who educate their kids. They want the teachers to only teach religion. Which is something they should be taught at home or Church. If parents can't do that, why should public schools? And if public schools teach one religion, they have to teach them all.

There is world wide supply of uneducated labor, and they want it to be here to lower wages.

This is the great uneducation of America.

Get ready for it.

Bryan Kirby
Sun, 10/20/2019 - 9:00pm

Tell the union to stop fighting alternate teacher certification

Thu, 10/24/2019 - 11:49am

And you believe if we lower the standards for incoming teachers, somehow the quality of education will improve? For a non-teacher to propose such nonsense is like someone proposing that we change medical education to crank'em out faster and solve a doctor shortage. What non-professionals don't understand is what a profession actually is by definition: It has a defined place in a library because it continues to add to its body of knowledge; it has a code of ethics and lastly, it sanctions it's own members among the profession to weed out the poor performers. Bankers, for instance, would not be considered professionals since they have no code of ethics and are not able to discipline their own members. The general public has no appreciation for the body of knowledge that teachers have to acquire. Schools have become large because large schools are cheaper. But large building and staff require more administrators by virtue of size. Teachers are no longer looked upon as a noble profession but I think that most of the people who post here (the more mature crowd) benefitted from a decent public education which is becoming a luxury. It is obscene for public corporations (i.e. Devos think) to siphon funds for their charter schools which can control which students get in and which students are not accepted because they are too "expensive."

Mon, 10/28/2019 - 10:21am

Why would anyone want to be a teacher? My sister was. She got tired of dealing with helicopter parents, dictatorial administration, long hours, crowded classrooms, low respect and low pay. It eventually just wore her down and she left teaching.