News Bite

Teacher Shortage Blamed For No Friday Classes In Detroit? Their Numbers Up, Not Down

The New York Times posted a Dec. 8 story featuring a Detroit mother's reaction to news that the Detroit public school district her child attends would only provide remote instruction on Fridays during December.

The New York Times reported, “After a few months of relative calm, some public schools are going remote — or canceling classes entirely — for a day a week, or even for a couple of weeks, because of teacher burnout or staff shortages.”

Mainstream media outlets have routinely pitched claims of a teacher shortage as a valid reason for school closings in this state, even as the number of instructors on school payrolls rarely supports the idea.

That includes the Detroit Public Schools Community District, which has seen a dramatic increase in the number of teachers over the last five years, at the same time pupil counts have stagnated.

Detroit schools had 2,680 teachers during fall 2017, according to official records. The number was up to 3,193 teachers by fall 2021, a 19% increase. Today the district has 114 more instructors than a year ago, when many media outlets were predicting dire epidemic-related teacher retirement numbers.

While the number of teachers is up, the number of Detroit students is not. The district had 50,875 students in 2017-18 and 49,001 students in 2020-21. The state has not released enrollment data for 2021-22 school year.

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.