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Public Schools Struggle, Union Chief Says, But Staff Employment Is Up

David Hecker, president of the Michigan chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, recently contributed a story in Michigan Advance to oppose parents’ rights to choose where their children’s school aid funds will be spent for their K-12 education. Hecker wrote:

“As it stands, our public schools are already struggling with a need for mental health and wraparound services, outdated school infrastructure, and a shortage of educators and staff — and the pandemic has only made these problems worse.”

The state’s K-12 school system has more staff now than it did five years ago, according to MI School Data, the state’s public portal for education data. There were 348,882 total staff positions in 2021-22, up from 319,829 in 2016-17, a 9% increase. While staffing has increased, the student population decreased over the same time period. The state’s student population dropped from 1,532,335 in 2016-17 to 1,443,456 in 2021-22, a 5.8% decrease.

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.