Underpaid Teachers in Michigan


Alyssa Schmidt & Sara Spillman

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.

Here is the link to our media artifact on underpaid teachers in Michigan.

2. Persona and POV statement


Persona name: Payton
Age: 21
School/occupation: University of Michigan
Location: Ann Arbor
Quote: "Why should I have to choose between wanting to educate the future of our country and making enough money to support a family?"
  • Payton is a Junior in college. She grew up living in Ann Arbor with a single mother who had to work two different jobs to support her.
  • Payton grew up with teachers she loved and admired and wanted to be an educator herself to give students the best possible learning environment and education they could possibly get.
  • In college, Payton began to learn more and more about becoming a teacher and the education system herself. She started to realize that being a teacher means you do not really get paid so well because of flaws in the education system.
  • To balance being a teacher and supporting her family
  • To make the education system understand the importance of paying teachers fairly
  • To give her students the best possible education she can

POV Statement:

  • User (be specific and use empathetic language, e.g., Karla, a busy and high achieving high school student…): Payton, a determined and eager college student who wants to be a teacher...
  • Need (identifies a need that is meaningful and includes feelings, e.g. …needs a way to feel less stress at school…): ...needs a way to make enough money teaching in Michigan to support her family...
  • Insight (incorporates your observations; often unexpected, …because there is a lot of chaos in her life and she wants to feel more calm, peace, and mindfulness in her day.): ...because she grew up with a single mom who could not provide her with the funds and financial support that a family requires.


3. Potential Solutions:

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

SOLUTION 1: A simple, yet effective way to increase teacher salaries would be to increase tax money that goes to the schools solely for the purpose of adding to salaries or educators. While I am aware that at first look, many citizens may not be happy with higher taxes, there is good reason to believe in people wanting to help out. In light of the recent pandemic that has been going on in the world, there have been constant social media posts and blogs from mothers and fathers about having to homeschool their children. There is a common theme within all of the posts: parents repect teachers an infinite amount more than they did before the corona virus and believe they do not get the credit (or money) they deserve.

SOLUTION 2: To cater to the side of the problem about students not being compelled to become teachers, a possible way to fix this could be to give teachers other benefits for free or even at a less expensive price such as hot lunches, free tutoring, etc. for their own children and/or families who attend the school to make teaching more attractive to students. A lot of the reason to not become a teacher is because in today's day-and-age, prices are high and families are big. It is hard to give your family want they want or deserve with such a low salary. Making students see that there are other benefits that non-teachers don't have for their families can increase the liklihood to become a teacher. While many students may not be thinking that ahead into the future when deciding on their career, this could at least increase the income of new teachers a little bit.

SOLUTION 3: As precedented from other states such as Oklahoma, teacher walkouts or protests are an effective way to get legislature to increase the salaries of teachers. 




Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

House Bill 5258 (2019)

  • This house bill states that there is a certain salary cap for school administrators and employees. 

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

  • This proposal will make a difference in the lives of every single person living in Michigan.
    • Most directly, of course, it will make a difference in the lives of teachers by increasing their pay and making their lives better and more comfortable financially.
    • More indirectly, increasing teacher pay will make resources more available to teach. With these better and more available resources, the education system as a whole will increase in effectiveness. In other words, more resources 

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

  • First semester, as well as the short time in second semester, I have volunteered at both a low-income pre-school and an afterschool tutoring program for underprivilaged kids. I have seen first hand the impact of low salaries and school funding on both teachers and students in Michigan.

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

  • As stated previously, I have seen first hand how low-income schools impact the education systems. My service activity gave an answer to how students can get the help they need without having to pay high prices in teachers or resources.

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:



Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).

CONSULTATION 1: Jamie Steuerman - teacher in New York

  • I am going to speak to Jamie to see the perspective of a teacher who is the "goal" of this proposal. In other words, see the differences between teachers who have higher salaries than those in Michigan to give a bigger, more personal view on the importance of this topic.

CONSULTATION 2: Teachers posting "blogs" on the Association of American Educators Organization website.



Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.


Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.


Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?

  • Alyssa Schmidt contributions:
    • media artifact
    • persona and POV statement
    • potential solutions
    • reaching out to organizations
    • background and research process (all)
  • Sara Spillman contributions:



The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.




(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).





(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)


What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?




Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  



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


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Total votes: 0