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Education

A House bill would set up a program to pay student teachers

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Jennifer Guerra
/
Michigan Radio

A bill, introduced last month by Republican Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Township), would establish a grant program to pay student teachers and their teaching mentors.

The bill was voted out of the House Education Committee earlier this week and is on its way to the House floor for a vote.

Under the bill, teachers would be paid a stipend of $1,000 for the school year for serving as a mentor teacher.

Student teachers would receive $90 for each day they work.

Jennifer Smith, Director of Government Relations for the Michigan Association of School Boards, says paying student teachers is a helpful step in recruiting new teachers to the profession.

"They're paying tuition and doing their student teaching. So they're paying to work," said Smith. "They're not being paid as student teachers. This can be difficult."

Wendy Zdeb is executive director of the Association of Secondary School Principals which also supports the legislation.

Zdeb said the bill would help address the serious teacher shortage in Michigan with the student teacher pay serving as part of a recruitment strategy and the mentor teacher stipend as part of a retention strategy.

"The concept of expecting students to basically work for a year of their lives for free is clearly an outdated concept - especially in today's marketplace," Zdeb said.

Zdeb said ideally the teacher mentor stipend would be larger because the role "is a lot of work and a lot of responsibility."

"You're observing your student teacher and giving them feedback, helping them design lessons, helping them design assessments, and sitting with them during parent-teacher conferences," said Zdeb.

The bill calls for the state Legislature to appropriate sufficient funds for the program.

The Michigan Department of Education would administer the program.

School districts, intermediate school districts, and public school academies would be eligible to apply for the grants.

Hornberger could not be reached for comment.