News Story

Enrollment Down, Number Of Teachers Up In Rochester

Rochester Community Schools, like many districts in this state, has more teachers than four years ago but fewer students. Despite persistent media reports of a dire teacher shortage in Michigan, the Oakland County district has seen the number of its teachers increase from 873 in 2017-18 to 955 in 2021-22. That’s a 9.3% increase over that four-year span. On the other hand, its enrollment has decreased from 15,361 students in 2017-18 to 15,114 in 2020-21. Enrollment for the current school year has not been released by the state yet.

In late October, State Superintendent Michael Rice wrote an op-ed that appeared in Bridge Michigan, saying there was a statewide teacher shortage that top school officials had been warning about for years.

Rice’s op-ed was like many claims made in the media in that it lacked any data on the actual number of teachers in Michigan.

Michigan Capitol Confidential has tried to fill that gap by filing Freedom of Information Act requests with the larger school districts in Michigan to see how many teachers they have, an important data point that has been absent in the public discussion on teacher shortages.

The Center for Education Performance and Information is the official data source for the state of Michigan. CEPI’s data on teachers in not precise, however, because the state counts counselors, nurses, social workers and therapists as teachers.

So Michigan Capitol Confidential went to the school districts and asked for their data on teachers. Rochester schools reported having fewer teachers than CEPI reported. For example, in 2020-21, Rochester Community Schools reported having 924 teachers. The data provided by Rochester Community Schools had 1,003 teachers for the district.

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.