Teacher Retention

PRE-PROPOSAL 1. Media Artifact

Link to media artifact(s) giving background on the issue. Please list the title of the artifact(s) and then make the title(s) a link to the page in the MSC site where the artifact has been posted. You may include media artifacts made by other MSC members, if relevant, even if they are not authors of this proposal.

http://michiganstudentcaucus.org/sites/default/files/Isra%20Elshafei.pdf 2. Persona and POV statement Persona: Persona name: Daniel Smith Age: 38 School/occupation

High School Math Teacher at International Academy as well as the IB coordinator

Location: Macomb, Michigan

Has two daughters both in elementary school just three years apart in age. 

    Quote: "Life is pointless without geometry"   About:
  • His wife is also a teacher but works at a different school about 40 minutes away

  • This will be his 13th year of teaching

  • Stays late after school taking care of administrative work as well as leading the school’s student government club

  • Finish paying off the mortgage on the house in the next couple of years

  • Make sure the girls aren’t late to their karate class...again

  • Try and have a date night

POV Statement:



Daniel, a passionate and busy achieving high school math teacher and administrator...


…needs a way to provide for his family and himself...


…because he lives a very budgeted life and is often worried about not paying the mortgage on time or giving the best life to his wife and kids. 




Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.



Increase Teacher Pay

It is already quite common knowledge that teachers are not paid enough. Teachers work the typical 9-5 and get paid for those hours, but their work goes beyond just what happens in the classroom. It transfers home when it comes to grading papers and lesson planning. On top of that, the teachers’ role goes beyond just teaching students history, math, and science, but they are expected to shape the minds of the future. Now, in the state of Michigan completing such work pays an average of $61,908, which is $700 dollars less than what it was in 2011, and with inflation taken into account it is approximately $6,200 less than then. The low pay is the number one cause for why teachers leave the job, and 1 in every 5 teachers leave the position within five years due to this reason. 

Now to increase pay, the main question that comes up is where is the money going to come from? Early this year Gov. Whitmer proposed a half billion budget to schools. Now this does not necessarily answer where this money is coming from, but I propose a push for this initiative. Now, much of this money is going toward the per-pupil payment but I believe that some can be allocated to teacher pay.  



Adjust the Accessibility to Quality Teacher Education

Another leading cause to the lack of teacher retention is the lack in quality of teacher education preparation. What is meant by quality? Quality in this context will be focused on how well prepared teachers feel to be entering a classroom. It is required for teachers to have a subversive program in the classroom. At the University of Michigan only a semester of student teaching is done, while at Eastern Michigan University their student teaching lasts an entire year. Although this is debatable on whether or not this is enough exposure to people studying teacher education, but the reality is, experiencing a semester, where you are not even spending entire days for the entirety of the semester, does not directly correlate to the realities of what it is like to be a teacher. You do not go through all the lesson planning or grading a teacher has to go through. In addition to that you lack the emotional responsibility the teacher has over the students. 

For this reason I believe that teachers should spend more time working in the classroom and make it so that teachers are in a classroom for an entire year, and spend full days in the classroom for at least a semester. With this I believe that they can get more accomodated to a teacher lifestyle. 



Make Teaching About Teaching

Another issue that occurs within the classroom is that teaching is no longer about teaching. The expectations that teachers have are vast and variant. As elementary school teachers you are expected to provide nurturing and support to the students on top of teaching them content. But with all of that your determination of success goes beyond whether you develop bonds or teach them in the classroom but rather on how well the students do on standardized tests. The topic of standardized tests and how they do not accurately portray a students ability is a long going discussion. However, what happens is, teachers begin to focus more on teaching how to pass these tests rather than teaching them the content that could help become students more rounded. For that reason, teacher evaluation should be less weighted on student performance on standardized tests, but rather on a students holistic improvement. 




The two bills I will be referencing to are the MCL 380.1249 and MCL 380.1250. Each of these laws address the teachers. The MCL 380.1249 refers to teacher evaluation, and the case for this is actually very generally. Essentially teachers are evaluated on “student growth”, and that is also how their pay is determined. According to 380.1250 teachers are paid are on salary, but also merit based on teacher evaluation. 

Additionally, I look into MCL 388.1618 which focuses on the publication of teacher pay. This is just more so a resource into looking at each individual pays for teachers based on districts. 

I also utilize the MCL 380.1531 which dives into the requirements to becoming a teacher. Specifically what needs to be done in order to officially obtain your teaching certificate. 

Lastly, I also look into the educational assessment in Michigan, meaning the tests that students take in order to see their growth. 


This proposal will make a difference in the lives of students as well as teachers. With teacher retention rates being high, students are being impacted. As data shows that students perform worse when teachers are not staying. On top of that, newer teachers perform worse than teachers who have been teaching for more than five years, and that is not necessarily because they are bad teachers, they just don’t have enough in class experience yet. Because of this, students are getting stuck with teachers who are not as experienced and are not receiving the best education they deserve. Additionally, this proposal hopes to better the teaching experience for the teacher for when it comes to the pay, training, and purpose. 


I was exposed to this issue in a class I was taking here at the university. In this class we learned a lot about teacher preparation and why the number of teachers are decreasing, or at least potential reasons. As someone who is also pursuing a degree in education, I know the reason why I want to pursue is to learn the system and make a difference. A problem that I want to eventually solve is teacher retention. 

Working with K-Grams I had access to a plethora of students as well as teachers. With this program, it was focused on interaction with students. Through this I hoped to gain the perspective of younger children and see what it means to be a teacher. And I also wanted to ask them their opinions on the exams that they had to take that determine a teachers “success” in a classroom. 






CONSULTATION 1: High School Math Teacher

-Married with 2 kids and 2 dogs

-His wife is also a teacher

-He discussed about how when he first moved to Michigan from Chicago it was a struggle to get settled. At that time he was only married without any kids, and even then the move on a teacher's salary was difficult. 

-As time progressed saving was their savior

-Starting a family was a large debate as two teacher salaries would not be enough to buy a house just yet.

-Once he was promoted it helped significantly


CONSULTATION 2: Michigan Education Association 

-“One in five teachers leave the profession within the first five years, and to break that trend we need to boost investments in our schools and teachers.”

-“Far too many educators are struggling with low and declining pay, and this is especially the case in Michigan, where teachers have seen declines in pay for the past decade,”

“We are in the midst of a teacher shortage as many school districts across the state are having a hard time filling positions, and with declining teacher pay, that will only get worse,” said Herbart. “All students deserve a high-quality education, and that begins with adequately funding our schools and reinvesting in our teachers and support professionals.”

-“Gov. Whitmer’s proposal puts Michigan’s students and educators first and we urge lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to support her in reinvesting in our schools.”


CONSULTATION 3: College Student Who Experienced Inconsistent Teacher

-Their experience was focused on their 7th grade science experience

-Their teacher left for maternity leave and was supposed to have a long term sub

-Within the time period they had 5 different substitutes and then their teacher quit

-Throughout that year they said they learned nothing because the consistent change in teacher as well as teacher certification was unbearable


Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:


After meeting with my topic coordinator I found the advice very helpful. I met before I had my consultations. And I was given the advice to contact people who are already trying to fight the problem. This was very helpful to me because I was struggling with finding a third person to consult. Additionally, I felt very encouraged by the topic coordinator as he praised the topic I was trying to target however, he was truthful in the fact that this topic is going to be difficult. The reality of the topic is that people have been trying to fix this issue, but when it comes to the solution of increasing pay, the source of the money is the largest problem. Being able to figure out where the money should come from is difficult. But this advice helped me look more into the policies that exist and potentially fix the ones that exist. 


Research process:


My research process started with thinking of an issue that I am passionate about. As a future educator, I automatically went to look into the issues within this role. As previously discussed in one of my classes, a major issue that exists is teacher pay. However, I felt that this was a smaller issue within a larger one. So while working on the media artifact I wanted to think about what impact does teacher pay has on, and that when I thought of teacher retention. From there I did further research into why teachers do not stay and used that to base my other possible solutions. From there, I went into further research on what policies exist and what can be changed. When it came to this point, I hit roadblocks because I just didn’t know what solutions are actually feasible or if the ideas I had were things that could be turned into actual proposals. But after meeting with the topic coordinator I felt more confident and went to work. 




WHEREAS, There is a need in the state of Michigan for teachers, and


WHEREAS, the number of teachers in the state of Michigan continues to decrease, and


WHEREAS, 1 in every 5 teachers resign from their position within their first five years and the overall teacher workforce has decreased by 16%, and 


WHEREAS, teachers pay has decreased by approximately $6,200 over the past decade, the enrollment in teacher education programs has decreased by 52%, and teachers’ performance is based on students’ performance on standardized tests, therefore, be it


RESOLVED, That the State of Michigan pass Gov. Whitmer's budget to increase school funding by $507 million dollars and allocate $10 million of those dollars to the teacher pay, and, be it further

RESOLVED, That it is required for teachers in the state of Michigan to complete one year of student teaching as a requirement of the teaching certification, and, be it


RESOLVED, That teacher evaluation be based on the holistic improvement of their pupils than their scores that come from standardized tests like the M-Step and MME. 



What are the three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

  1. One could be that the money could be utilized towards other issues that already exist in the state like fixing the roads and that this money has to be taken from somewhere or it will just put the state into greater debt. 

  1. It will be difficult to change all school requirements, and what about the teachers that earned their degrees elsewhere. How do they fall under the requirements? 

  1. How can you determine a holistic growth? 

Costs and funding:


Funding is addressed throughout this. However, the main source of funding will be targeted towards the solution of increasing teacher pay. Other sources of funding may be needed when it comes to adjusting teacher education programs, however, I do not believe it will require much because it will be a replacement for what already exists. 




These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.




















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