Detroit Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, center, took to Twitter over the weekend to blast the use of long-term substitute teachers to lead Michigan classrooms. And he’s doing something about it. (Bridge file photo)
Taken at face value, the M-STEP results leave plenty of room for concern. But figures are up significantly from last year, and individual Detroit schools made double-digit point gains, in some cases exceeding the state average.
Results from the state’s annual standardized test, given to students in grades 3-8, show faint signs of improvement. See how state students overall performed in the tests given last spring, and look up your own school.
More and more public schools are struggling to find someone to lead classes when teachers are out – a sign of a growing teacher shortage and a humming economy where people can find more lucrative jobs.
University of Michigan School of Education dean Elizabeth Birr Moje says Michigan risks widening achievement gaps between poor and more affluent students through the increased use of untrained teachers.
At the fast-growing Charlton Heston Academy in St. Helen, nearly half of classrooms were staffed by uncertified, long-term substitutes last year. Superintendent says it’s not ideal, but charter can’t attract certified teachers.
One was a wedding planner. The other, an assistant basketball coach. Their stories say a lot about how Michigan increasingly is using long-term substitutes, full-time teachers with no training in education to lead classrooms.
In the last five years, the number of long-term substitutes taking over public classrooms has risen tenfold in Michigan. Critics say reliance on subs is an embarrassment for a state with lagging school performance.
The University of Michigan is seeing gains since offering free tuition to low-income families. But for many students, the class divide remains daunting once they step foot on one of the nation’s richest campuses.