News Story

Average Detroit Teacher Missed 13 Days Of School Last Year

District needs another 425 teachers to be fully staffed

The Detroit school district said in early August that it is 425 teachers short of having all the teachers it will need when classes start on Sept. 5. Records obtained from the district reveal that last year Detroit teachers missed 13.06 school days on average.

The 2,409 teachers employed by the state’s largest public school district missed a total of 31,472 days in the 2016-17 school. On average, 6.64 of those missed days were classified as sick days, 2.00 absences were “days on leave” and 1.48 were due to “personal emergency or personal business,” in the language used by the district.

The district breaks down the missed time into five categories: days on leave, religious observance, personal emergency or personal business, sick days, and jury duty. It did not provide any information on the number of days missed for professional conferences.

“Anytime a teacher is absent it affects student learning,” said Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti in a statement. “At the same time, in the context of working conditions in DPS, we know that teachers have been battling a district environment that did not collectively and consistently respect them as the most important employees in the district. As we rebuild the district and work to improve teacher and staff morale, we believe that teacher absenteeism will improve.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is reviewing teacher absences on a district-by-district basis by submitting open records requests that ask for a reporting of teacher absences. The investigation was sparked by numerous claims in the media and by public school officials that schools face a shortage of teachers and substitute teachers.

Plymouth-Canton Community Schools was the first district Michigan Capitol Confidential reported on. The average teacher there missed 17.36 days last year.