91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Law could ease teacher shortage, but bigger response needed, says union

Teacher instructing students in a classroom
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash
Teacher instructing students in a classroom

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a law intended to ease temporary teacher shortages.

The law allows retired teachers to take a temporary school job six months after retiring, without forfeiting some of their pensions and other retirement benefits.

Teachers could also choose to fill such a temporary position sooner than six months after their retirement, but, to avoid losing their benefits, they would be limited to earning a total salary of $15,100 in the calendar year.

Thomas Morgan is the spokesperson for the Michigan Education Association, the state's largest teachers' union. He said it's a small but positive step to address the state's serious teacher shortage. But Morgan said in the long run, the state needs to make teaching a more attractive job.

"We need to make sure that we are as a state paying educators a good wage, listening to their voices, and making sure that we are treating teachers and school support professionals with the respect and dignity they deserve," he said.

Morgan said the perception of the value of public education in general, and teachers in particular, has been degraded by decades of right-wing criticism, but there are signs that parents and other supporters of public education are now organizing to fight back.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
Related Content