News Story

Audit: Evidence Lacking 40% Of Public School Educators Took Required Continuing Ed Courses

Department of Education created verification process only after audit found shortcoming

Four out of 10 Michigan public school teachers and administrators that were analyzed were unable to show that they meet state requirements for renewing their license, according to a report from the state auditor general.

Specifically, 40% of those audited could not fully document they had completed a state-required program known as Education Related Professional Learning. The finding came in a performance audit of the Office of Educational Excellence, a unit of the Michigan Department of Education. The audit was released on March 6 by the Office of the Auditor General, a separate state agency. The audit covered 2015 through 2018.

The Michigan Department of Education requires 150 hours of continuing education for each educator who seeks a license renewal, which is good for five years. But no office verifies whether educators who say they took the required training actually did so. And according to the audit, 114 teachers and school administrators from 19 districts sampled could not verify that they had met the requirement.

The hours are recorded in the Michigan Online Educator Certification System. According to the auditor general report, no verification process exists to ensure that educators follow state certification and licensing requirements.

The Michigan Department of Education agreed with the finding but said it has no verification process in place, citing limited staffing. The department has since added a verification process.

The department’s budget has surged over the past six years, as has the number of employees. In 2015-16, the department had the equivalent of 588.5 full-time staffers and spent $335.7 million.

In the current fiscal year, five years later, Michigan’s education department has the equivalent of 614.5 full-time staffers, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency. Its annual budget has increased to $654.1 million.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.