News Bite

Generalized Teacher Shortages, A Michigan Media Mainstay, Unsupported By Facts

Districts struggle filling some specialties, but overall numbers are up, not down

Michigan’s mainstream media promotes a narrative that features an impending teacher shortage. Two examples illustrate the point:

— An April 18 story from Detroit Free Press columnist Nancy Kaffer ran under the headline, “What if Michigan teachers don’t come back?”

— On April 25, the news site MLive reported, “Pandemic, workload, burnout pushes Michigan teacher shortage over the edge. Who will replace them?”

In both articles, the Saginaw public school district was cited as an example of a school system with a staffing problem.

The number of teachers working in the Saginaw district increased 8.5% over the past four years, even as enrollment plummeted 14.1%.

There were 376 teachers in Saginaw in 2016-17; by the 2020-21 school year, the number had increased to 408. At the same time, enrollment dropped from 6,044 to 5,187.

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.