News Bite

Teacher-Shortage Claims Breaking Out All Over, But Actual Numbers Often Different Story

For example, there are more teachers for fewer students in this Macomb district over three years

For years, Michigan’s mainstream media outlets have repeated claims of regional or widespread teacher shortages. The claims are promoted by public schools, teachers unions and other interests aligned with the K-12 system.

Figures collected by the Michigan Department of Education on staff totals at individual school district are not useful for determining the validity of claims about teacher shortages because they include counselors, psychologists and other employees who aren’t teachers.

To get more precise data on teacher staffing levels, Michigan Capitol Confidential’s publisher, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, has requested and will be publishing the number of school teachers working at individual school districts.

Here’s an example from L’Anse Creuse Public Schools. The Macomb County district has been experiencing declining enrollment but has more teachers over the past four years.

It has 557 teachers on its payroll in 2021-22, up 7.3% from 519 in 2020-21.

It employed 476 teachers in 2017-18, or 81 less than the current number.

Enrollment in L’Anse Creuse schools dropped from 10,491 students in 2017-18 to 9,883 in 2020-21, a drop of 608 students over a three-year period. The enrollment number for 2021-22 is not yet available.

Michigan Capitol Confidential has reported on the allegations of a teacher shortage for several years. Based on the number of applicants for teaching positions that have been examined over a multiple-year period, there appears to be a shortage in some occupational areas, such as special education, foreign languages and high-level specialized courses.

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.