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           DISTRICTS IN 2001

  Collegiate Employment Research Institute
          Michigan State University
          113 Student Services Bldg.
           East Lansing MI 48824

               June 15, 2002

In the summer of 1999, the Institute undertook an assignment to investigate the difficulties
Michigan public school districts were encountering in finding teachers to fill vacancies. National
attention has focused attention on this issue, particularly in light of pending retirements that
could leave many districts understaffed or staffed with poorly trained personnel. The Institute
has historically examined student transitions, obtaining a timely snapshot of how the supply side
of the labor market has done. This study has purposely focused on the demand side. The results
of this study, “Finding Teachers: How Hard is it for Michigan Public School Districts. A 1999
Benchmark“, is available from the Institute.

In 2001 the Institute was approached by WRESA (Wayne Regional Education Service Agency)
to collaborate on an update of the study. WRESA staff wanted to investigate the hiring situation
among its member districts. Their staff provided expertise in developing new questions and
clarifying wording in questions used in 1999. In addition, WRESA solicited the participation
from its members. The collection of these surveys filled a void in the 1999 study, which failed to
capture responses from this part of the state.

We specifically recognize the generous and timely support of Kelly Green, of Wayne RESA.


In the benchmark 1999-2000 study of teacher hiring, the responding districts reported little
difficulty in finding teachers. There were exceptions, however, with difficulty in finding special
education, technology, and physics teachers. Even though elementary teachers, social science
(middle and high schools), and English (middle and high schools) accounted for the positions
with the most openings; these positions were easiest to fill.

Michigan districts seldom used bonuses or other financial incentives to attract new teachers.
They offered a starting salary of $29,000 (range $23,800-$36,800) and occasionally used steps to
increase initial salary offers.

Retirements loomed for many districts with 63% reporting that this demographic would have a
significant impact on the district. Some districts faced a situation where 50% of their staff could
retire within the next five years.

New teachers were perceived to be well prepared in pedagogy and curriculum; computer
technology, and student learning styles. Districts expressed concern about new teachers
understanding of state standards and assessment, integrating computer resources into teaching
strategies, and awareness of connections between education and careers.

Key Findings from 2001 Study

      Districts that responded reported seeking 525 elementary, 250 middle school, 398 high
       school, 308 special education, as well as a variety of other teachers for the 2001-2002
       school year. Each district sought 9 teachers on average though districts with more than
       3159 students averaged 19 while small districts (less than 1091 students) averaged 2.5.
       Likewise urban districts sought 17 teachers while rural districts only 5.
      Districts had very little difficulty in finding candidates for most positions, especially
       elementary, physical education, language arts, and social science positions.
      Difficulty was encountered in finding special education teachers (all types), music,
       media/library science, Spanish, and counselors.
      Urban districts reported more difficulty in finding core faculty (social science, English,
       sciences) while suburban districts had difficulty locating music, foreign language, and
       library/media teachers.
      Regardless of size, districts had trouble finding special education teachers. The largest
       districts had more problems finding high school teachers while the smallest districts
       encountered problems with elementary positions.
      Average starting salaries ranged between $30,500 and $31,100 across districts. Rural and
       smaller districts paid significantly lower starting salaries than other districts.
      Average starting salaries outside education for math and science graduates continue to
       significantly exceed starting teaching salaries. In the humanities and social sciences
       salaries are comparable.
      While retirements still loom as a factor that will influence future openings and demand
       for new teachers, financial conditions and loss of students have emerged as equally
       demanding. Given Michigan’s financial situation, a district’s financial vitality will
       influence hiring as much as retirement.

      New teachers were perceived to be comfortable with computers and well prepared to
       work collaboratively; however they have received little training in methods to keep
       schools safe and are not aware of (1) learning differences between girls and boys and (2)
       connections between education and careers (employability).


The districts that responded in 2001 were slightly smaller (averaged 2,578 students) than
respondents in 1999 (averaged 3,500 students). The 2001 sample was closer to the state profile.
Like the 1999 sample, the 2001 sample was largely comprised of rural districts.

      Finding teachers in 2001 was slightly less difficult than two years earlier. However,
       problem areas remain the same – special education, foreign languages, technology and
      Districts look toward CMU, MSU, WMU, and EMU for new teachers. Rural districts
       seek CMU graduates while MSU graduates go to larger districts and suburban schools.
      Starting salaries have increased about $2,500 since 1999. However, the top of the range
       has not moved upward as fast as the lower end.
      Teachers likely to retire has dropped noticeably over the past two years; especially at the
       middle school and high school level. Fewer districts face large numbers of teachers retire
       over the next fiver years.
      The scale on teacher preparation was changed – so no direct comparisons can be made.
       However, the weaknesses still seem to be the same: state standards, careers, and safe


According to 2001 information (Mi DE), there were 554 public school districts and public school
academies, enrolling 1,706,939 students for a public school district, K-12 average (only) of 2,469
(based on 1999 figures). One hundred ninety five (195) districts responded to the survey; 190
provided complete data for a response rate of 34%. Responding districts enrolled 489,737
students or 27% of the total with an average enrollment of 2,578 (size range 40 to 17,802

Districts were grouped by size at the quartiles of the response distribution. A comparison was
made to the distribution of all districts into the same categories.

                           Size Categories         All Districts      Sample
                                    n                n     %         n    %
                            <1091                  249     45       47    25
                            1092-1791               94     17       48    25
                            1792-3158              100     18       48    25
                            >3159                  111     20       47    25

The response group was skewed in the following ways:

      Fewer smaller schools than expected
      Higher number of schools in the middle range (1092-3158)

Characteristics of Responding Schools

Districts were further described based on their location, recent hiring activity, staff size, and
students on free lunch.

                A. Location                                     n        %
                   Rural                                      113        59
                   Suburban                                    64        34
                   Urban                                       13         7
                B. Teachers hired last year (2000-2001)
                   None                                         6         3
                   Range                                    1 to 201
                   Average                                     15
                C. Students with free lunch
                   Range                                   6% to 89%
                   Average                                   28%
                D. Teaching staff
                   Range                                   3 to 1322
                   Average                                    166
                E. Certified teachers
                   Range                                   3 to 1320
                   Average                                    164

Because of Wayne RESA participation, Wayne County districts returned the most surveys with
18. Counties with higher number of returns included: Berrien, Houghton, Kent, Saginaw, and
VanBuren. Eighteen counties did not appear on the final list (22% of counties covered). As
district boundaries encompass contiguous county land – some of these counties may well be
represented in the sample population.

These counties do not appear in the sample: Alcona, Alger, Baraga, Grand Traverse, Iosco,
Kalkaska, Keweenaw, Lake, Luce, Manistee, Mason, Midland, Montmorency, Ogeman,
Ontonagon, Osceola, Oscoda, and PresQue Isle. Several counties (5) are located in the upper
peninsula and the remaining are clustered in the western and eastern portions of the upper lower

Hiring Activity

The responding districts reported hiring 1763 full-time teachers (9.04 per district) and 192 part-
time teachers (.98 per district) for the 2001-2002 school year. Working with only the full-time
positions, the positions were allocated to these levels:

                                                        Positions Filled
                        Elementary                            525
                        Middle School                         250
                        High School                           398
                        Special education                     308
                        Counseling/psychology                  93
                        Reading/speech                         40
                        Languages (all)                        41
                        Vocational education                   43
                        Physical education                     37
                        Other                                  38

If hiring is examined by size and location, the level of hiring can be compared:

              Size              Total Hired          Average hires per district by size
        <1091                       117                             2.5
        1092-1791                   252                             5.2
        1972-3158                   433                             9.0
        >3159                       907                            19.3

            Location            Total Hired      Average hires per district by location
        Rural                       537                           4.7
        Suburban                    939                          14.7
        Urban                       226                          17.4

Based on teaching position, the following chart identifies the number of teachers sought by
location. The list has been limited to seven positions most in demand (highest number of
districts looking for these certified teachers).

       Rural                                Suburban                           Urban
Elem Primary            75          Elem Primary                   126   Elem Intermediate      19
Special Ed/LD           53          Elem Intermediate               95   Elem Primary           13
Elem Intermediate       28          Special Ed – not specified      63   HS – Math              13
HS – English            28          Special Ed - LD                 59   Special Ed – EI        11
Kindergarten-Pre K      23          HS – Math                       48   Middle Schl – Sci      10
High School – Math      21          Middle School – Math            40   Special Ed – LD        10
Special Ed – EI         21          High School – English           38

Difficulty in Hiring

Respondents were asked to rate the difficulty they encountered in finding a qualified candidate
for each type of position sought. The rating scale went from “1” not at all difficult to “5”
extremely difficult. Difficulty ratings ranked from a low of 1.18 for elementary primary teachers
(not at all difficult) to 4.05 for special education teachers for the emotionally impaired (very

                                            n          Average          Difficulty in Hiring
Elementary (K-5, all positions)            309          1.73          “Not at all” to “somewhat”
Middle school (all positions)              226          2.04                 “Somewhat”
High school (all positions)                381          2.33           “Somewhat” to “fairly”
Vocational education                        57          3.27              “Fairly” to “very”
Languages (all levels)                      72          2.50           “Somewhat” to “fairly”
Physical education (all levels)             36          1.72          “Not at all” to “somewhat”
Counseling/psychologist                    110          2.54           “Somewhat” to “fairly”
Special education (all positions)          185          3.67                    “Very”
Reading/speech                              38          3.26              “Fairly” to “very”

             Hardest Teachers to Find by Grade Level/Specialization: Average
                            (n = number seeking candidates)

      Elementary                                       Languages
         Media/library science         3.39 (18)         Spanish                    3.30 (30)
         Music                         3.13 (32)
      Middle School                                    Counseling
         Media/library science         3.29 (14)       Psychologist                 3.44 ( 9)
         Music                         2.96 (23)
      High School                                      Special Education
         Media tech/tech ed            3.36 (14)         Emotionally impaired       4.05 (42)
         Vocal music                   3.31 (16)         All types                  3.79 (29)
         Library science/media         3.31 (13)         Physically impaired        3.50 ( 8)
         Instrumental music            3.30 (23)         Learning disabled          3.47 (70)
                                                         Autism                     3.46 (13)
        Vocational Education                         Speech pathologist            3.48 (29)
          Technology                 3.53 (19)
          Agriculture                3.17 ( 6)
          Business                   3.04 (25)

                            Least Difficulty Positions to Fill: Average
                                (n = number seeking candidates)

        Elementary                                   Counseling
           Primary                  1.18 (84)          Psychologist – HS           1.83 (96)
           Intermediate             1.29 (58)
        Middle School
           Social Science           1.22 (27)
           Language Arts            1.43 (47)
        High School
           Social Science           1.34 (47)
           Language Arts            1.87 (53)

Further rating comparisons were made for selected district descriptors (number of kids, location,
% on free lunch). These comparisons suggest tendencies rather than conclusive conclusions
because the number of observations becomes very small when disaggregated.

Percent with Free Lunch

No distinct pattern emerges in hiring difficulties based upon percentage of students with free
lunch. Significant differences were noted:

   1)       Those with fewer students on free lunch found it more difficult than those with more
            students to find elementary physical education teachers.
   2)       Those with more free lunch students found it much more difficult to find special
            education teachers for learning disabled than those with fewer free lunch students.
   3)       For districts with a high percentage of students on free lunch the challenge was to
            find basic classroom teachers in math, science, social studies, English, music,
            counseling, and special education.
   4)       For districts with a low percentage of student on free lunch the challenge was to find
            elective teachers in languages, media and technology, elementary art and music,
            psychologists, reading specialists, and speech pathologists.


Overall, urban school districts reported more difficulty in finding teachers, particularly for
positions at their middle schools and high schools (nearly all subjects), plus special education
teachers for all designated groups. Suburban schools reported some difficulty in finding elective
teachers, particularly at the elementary level (art, music, media/library science), middle school
library science, high school instrumental music, vocational education, and foreign languages.
Rural schools tended to have more trouble in finding primary and intermediate elementary
teachers; yet overall, special educational teachers remained the most difficult to find.
                           Hardest Positions to find Candidates by Location

           Rural                             Suburban                               Urban
Special ed – Emotionally      4.05   Psychologist                  5.00   High School – Library      5.00
Impaired                                                                  Science
Special ed – Learning         3.70   Vocational ed – Agriculture   4.50   Vocational ed – Tech       5.00
Special ed – Hearing          3.67   Vocational ed – Technology    4.25   Special ed – Physically    5.00
Impaired                                                                  Impaired
Special ed – Visually         3.67   Special ed (all)              4.00   Special ed – Emotionally   4.75
Impaired                                                                  Impaired
Special ed – Physically       3.50   Elem Media/Library            3.88   Middle School – Music      4.67
Vocational ed – Tech          3.21   Middle School – Library       3.83   High School – Media Tech   4.50
Counseling                    3.17   Language – French             3.83   High School – Speech/      4.50
                                     Speech Pathologists           3.76   Special ed (all types)     4.50
                                     Special ed – Emotionally      3.75   English Second Language    4.33
                                                                          Special ed – Learning      4.33

Several significant differences in the level of difficulty were found in comparing districts.

Rural – Urban comparison:
    Rural districts reported significantly less difficulty in finding middle school math and
       English as a second language teachers.
    Urban districts reported significantly less difficulty in finding high school social studies

Rural – Suburban comparison:
    Rural districts reported that it was harder to find elementary intermediate, early childhood
       (pre k-k), high school social studies, and special education (learning disability) teachers.
    Suburban districts reported that it was harder to find elementary physical education and
       French teachers.

Suburban – Urban comparison:
    Urban districts found it harder to find middle school math and English as a second
      language teachers.

Number of students:

Districts within each size category reported some difficulty in finding teachers. However, a
consistent pattern emerged when the smallest and largest districts encountered greater difficulty
in recruiting teachers.

                           Hardest Positions to Fill by Student Size (Average)

         < 1091                                1092-1791                           1792-3158
High School – Media            5.00   Special ed – Emotionally    4.00   Special ed – Hearing       5.00
                                      Impaired                           Impaired
Special ed – Emotionally       5.00   Middle School – comp/tech   3.75   Special ed – Emotionally   4.00
Impaired                                                                 Impaired
Speech Pathologist             5.00   High School – Chemistry     3.75   Special ed – All           3.75
Elementary Music               4.33   Special ed – Learning       3.56   Special ed – Learning      3.67
                                      Disabilities                       Disabilities
Vocational ed – Business       4.33   Vocational ed – Business    3.50   Vocational ed – Tech       3.67
High School – Art              4.00   Special ed – all            3.44   High School – Media Tech   3.40

          > 3159
Vocational ed –                5.00
Psychologist                   4.75
Language – French              4.40
High School – Library          4.33
High School – Physics          4.25
Special ed – Physically        4.25
Special ed – all               4.14
High School – Comp/Tech        4.00
Vocational ed – Tech           4.00

In comparing size categories a number of significant differences emerged. Rather than report all
these differences, key patterns are noted.

Largest districts compared to all others:
    The largest districts reported more difficulty in finding high school teachers (math,
       physics, earth/physical science, social sciences, English, and art).

Small districts compared to others:
   Smaller districts had more problems finding elementary teachers.

Districts (1092-3158) compared to others:
    These districts found it easier to recruit technology instructors than other districts.

Source of New Teachers

The districts that responded to this survey hired teachers who had been trained at nearly all of the
institutions in Michigan that grant teaching certificates. Districts also sought teachers from
outside the state. The leading districts to supply teachers included:

                                                               n        % of districts
             Central Michigan University                       90            47
             Michigan State University                         89            47
             Western Michigan University                       79            42
             Eastern Michigan University                       54            28
             Northern Michigan University                      39            20
             Out of state                                      37            19

      CMU provided the most teachers to rural districts with 57%; other schools which
       supplied rural districts included FSU, NMU and out of state.
      Suburban districts attracted from many of the smaller, liberal arts colleges (Hope, Calvin,
       for example) plus Wayne State University (70%), EMU (52%), MSU (48%), and WMU
      Urban districts tended to recruit from all the colleges and universities with the larger
       institutions, such as MSU, WMU, and EMU being utilized the most.
      When examined by size, CMU’s teachers were evenly distributed over the size
       categories. MSU’s graduates were heavily recruited by the largest districts, as were UM,
       WMU, and Wayne State University. Smaller districts attracted more teachers from CMU
       and NMU in comparison.
      The very large districts were more likely to find teachers from out of state.

Starting Salary and Bonuses

Media attention has focused on the variety of incentives some districts around the country are
using to attract teachers. Very few of the respondents to this survey were using any type of
incentives. Three percent (n=6) were using signing bonuses, ranging from 3% to 15% of base
salary; only 2% (n=4) were helping pay student loans. Twenty-four percent indicated that they
would reimburse tuition for additional coursework.

In order to remain competitive, 40% of the respondents indicated that step increases were
frequently used to attract new teachers. Tests to determine what districts tended to use step
increases found no significant patterns. It appears that all types of districts use this strategy.

Starting salary for new teachers (no previous experience) becomes the main lure, in addition to
environment, to attract new teachers. Teaching, as a profession, holds to a rule that regardless of
level or discipline, all new teachers are hired into the district at the same pay rate. Even the
modest differences that were observed failed to account for the supply constraints evident in the
market, especially for special education teachers.

The average starting salary ranged between $30,500 and $31,100 across all types of districts.
However, a comparison across key districts revealed significant differences in average starting

      Districts with the fewest students on free lunch paid higher starting salaries across all
       teaching categories (not shown in table).

       Rural districts paid significantly less than both suburban and urban districts. While
        suburban and urban salaries were not statistically different, suburban districts had the
        higher salary averages.
       Districts with the smallest enrollments (<1091) offered significantly lower salaries than
        larger districts across all categories.
       Districts with enrollments between 1092-1791 and 1792-3158 offered similar starting
        salaries. Only at the early childhood and elementary levels were the salaries significantly
        different (larger districts paid approximately $1,000 more). Districts with 1092-1791
        averaged slightly higher salaries for middle school positions but lower at the high school
       The largest districts (>1792 students) had very similar salary structures though the largest
        districts tended to pay slightly more.

                                     LOCATION                                  KIDS
                              Average                                           1092-    1792-
        Category              Starting   Rural    Suburban   Urban    <1091      1791     3158    >3159
                             Salary ($)    ($)       ($)       ($)      ($)       ($)      ($)      ($)
Early childhood                30,968    29,680    31,754    31,274   28,665    30,258   31,230   33,142
Elementary                     30,704    29,476    32,036    31,151   28,648    30,067   31,140   32,845
Middle school- math-sci.       31,047    29,466    33,020    31,151   28,648    31,523   31,140   32,845
Middle school - all others     31,056    29,466    33,020    31,151   28,630    31,523   31,140   32,845
High school - math-sci.        31,062    29,466    33,037    31,151   28,630    31,523   31,140   32,868
High school – soc studies      30,708    29,471    32,036    31,151   28,630    30,058   31,116   32,845
High school - English/lang     30,706    29,469    32,036    31,151   28,624    30,058   31,116   32,845
High school - technology      30,476    29,471     32,053    31,151   28,630    30,058   31,116   31,938
High school - all others      30,481    29,490     32,036    31,151   28,675    30,058   31,116   31,915
Special education             30,396    29,471     31,822    31,151   28,630    30,058   31,116   31,624

Regressions on wages using the key characteristics consistently showed that location (rural) and
number of kids (larger) had significant influences on salary.

A final comparison examines starting salary for teachers with starting salaries for selected
academic majors.

                                 Teaching          MSU Graduates:      National BA
                              Starting Salaries         2000           Salaries: 2000
        Mathematics              $31,062              $41,500             $41,233
        Physics                  $31,062                N/A               $39,872
        Chemistry                                    $37,900              $36,823
        Social Science           $30,708             $31,200              $31,500
        Humanities               $30,706                N/A               $30,139

Hiring Preferences

Not all positions will be filled with new (first year) teachers. In some cases it is important to find
a teacher with experience for a key position, possibly developmental kindergarten or an AP
science course. When asked their preference, approximately 43% of the districts sought teachers
with a mix of experiences; trying to place newly trained teachers in 50% of the available
openings and experienced teachers in the remaining positions.

            Prefer to hire teachers with no previous experience           16%
            Prefer teachers with 2 to 5 years experience                  31%
            Prefer teachers with 5 or more years of experience            <1%
            Prefer a mix with 50% or more new teachers                    43%
            Prefer more experience – less than 50% of positions            9%
              filled with new teachers

Chi-square comparisons found that the number of students in the district made a significant
difference on preferences for new hires (pearson’s r = .311, t = 4.396, p = .000) where small
districts hired more teachers with no experience or teachers with 3 to 5 years. The largest
districts sought a mix with more than 50% new teachers.

Factors Impacting Near Future Hiring Requirements

Districts face a range of factors that could affect hiring. Currently, the economic slowdown in
the state has caused some districts to make cuts in personnel while at the same time retirements
are possible. Respondents were asked to rate various influencers: the top two factors continue to
be retirements (moderately to very strong) and financial conditions (moderately). The other
options seemed to make only a minor impact on districts.

                   Factors                  Mean        Level of Influence
        Retirements                         2.46        Moderately to very strong
        Financial considerations            2.18        Moderately strong
        Loss of students                    1.45        Somewhat to moderately strong
        Teacher attrition (normal)          1.08        Somewhat strong
        Schools of choice                   1.04        Somewhat strong
        Spouse relocation                    .99        Somewhat strong
        Growth in students                   .95        Somewhat strong
        Class size initiative                .87        Somewhat strong
        Frustration with profession          .69        Not at all

      For districts with a high percentage of students with free lunch, loss of students is a
       significantly stronger influence than in districts with few free lunch children. While not
       of statistical importance, these same districts feel stronger influences by retirements and
       finances than other districts.
      Districts with the fewest number of students find attrition and spouse relocation not to be
       a problem compared to larger districts (significant in all comparisons).
      Smaller districts (under 1791 students) are more worried about losing students than the
       largest districts; while the largest districts (>3159 students) are experiencing growth at
       the expense of the smaller districts.
      Rural districts are more concerned about losing students compared to suburban districts
       who are experiencing growth.
      Rural districts, on the other hand, are less likely to be influenced as strongly by teacher
       attrition and frustration/disappointment in profession when compared to urban districts.
      Significant differences on the same items – attrition and professional disappointment –
       were also found when comparing suburban and urban schools. Simply stated, urban
       schools have problems retaining new teachers.

The districts that responded indicated that approximately 15 to 20% of their staff could retire
within the next five years. However, the range shows that some districts have up to 95% of their
staff in certain departments ready to retire. Between 10 to 15% of the reporting districts had
50% or more of their teachers eligible to retire.

                               Average % Retire         Range (%)          % Districts over
                                                                             50% retire
    Early childhood                     18                    0-80               14
    Elementary                          19                    0-62                5
    Middle school                       21                    0-65               12
     Math-Science                       18                    0-80               13
     All others                         16                    0-55                4
    High school                         20                    0-50                7
     Math-Science                       19                    0-75               15
     Social sciences                    20                    0-95               17
     English/lang arts                  19                    0-95               16
     All others                         16                    0-82                6
    Special education (all)             15                    0-90                6

New Teacher Preparation

Respondents were asked to rate the preparation of new teachers in areas of curriculum, career
decision-making, educational policies, and school safety. The rating scale ranged from “not
prepared at all” (1) to “extremely well prepared” (5). Generally, the average ratings fell between
“somewhat” and “fairly well” prepared (2-3). Those areas where new teachers excelled
                 Comfortable using computers                        3.83
                 Receptive to collaborative learning situations     3.47
                 Received adequate practical training               3.34

Areas that received lower (less prepared) ratings included:

                Trained in methods to keep school safe                2.29
                Aware of connection between education/careers         2.39
                Account for differences in how boys/girls learn       2.46

                      Areas                          Average   % Not to    % Fairly    % Very to
                                                               Somewhat     Well       Extremely
   Good grasp of curriculum they teach                3.12        24          40            36
   Utilize appropriate pedagogical methods            3.08        16          60            24
   Integrate/computer/multimedia as learning tool     3.03        30          38            32
   Importance of writing across curriculum            2.93        29          48            23
   Comfortable using computers                        3.83         4          23            73
   Receptive to collaborative learning situations     3.47        11          40            49
   Adequate practical training (student teaching)     3.34        15          40            45
   Able to evaluate inform
      Content of web res.                             2.69        44          37            19
   Apply critical thinking to web resources           2.67        44          39            17
   Skills to work in urban setting                    2.58        49          39            12
   Understand MEAP/assessment implications            2.55        54          29            17
   Aware of school improvement process                2.47        56          33            11
   Understand practical application of what they                  26          51            23
     teach                                            2.98
   Understand educational needs/skills required by
     employer                                         2.89        33          46            21
   Aware connections between education/careers –
     aligning ambitions                               2.39        58          32            10
   Recognize different learning styles                3.02        29          41            30
   Can individualize instruction to grade level       2.82        36          46            18
   Account for differences in how boys/girls learn    2.46        52          37            11
   Act/present themselves professionally              3.05        28          40            32
   Appreciate cultural/ethnic diversity               3.01        26          49            25
   Incorporate sound discipline strategies            2.82        33          53            14
   Can discern parent expectations                    2.60        46          45             9
   Trained in methods to keep schools safe            2.29        61          31             8

Upon comparison across district characteristics, only a few significant differences were found
regarding new teacher preparation.

      Suburban districts rated new teachers’ appreciation for diversity (av = 3.23) much higher
       than urban districts (av = 2.46) and rural districts (av = 2.95).
      Suburban districts believe new teachers recognize differences in student learning styles
       (av = 3.28) than both urban (av = 2.69) and rural (av = 2.92) districts.
      Rural districts find new teachers less prepared to work in collaborative learning situations
       (av = 3.35) than suburban districts (av = 3.68).
      Districts with total enrollment between 1092 and 3158 students rated teacher preparation
       very similar. The differences occurred in comparisons with the largest districts and
       comparisons with the smallest districts.
           o Large districts (>3159) felt new teachers did not understand the implications of
               the MEAP and other assessments on the district compared to all other size
           o Large districts (>3159) rated new teachers professionalism (dress appropriately)
             better prepared than other size districts.
           o Large districts (>3159) found new teachers better prepared to handle diversity
             than districts of 1092 to 3158 students.
           o Large districts (>3159) found new teachers poorly prepared to deal with safety
             issues compared to smaller districts.
           o Small districts (<1091) felt new teachers less prepared for collaborative learning
             situations than districts with enrollments greater than 1792 students.
           o Small districts (<1091) felt that new teachers were better prepared to account for
             learning differences between boys and girls than districts with more enrollments.


What prompted this study was the impending exodus of a key cohort of teachers who were
reaching retirement age. Clearly, retirements continue to strongly influence the staffing of
Michigan public schools. While some of the pressure eased over the past two years, the state can
expect up to 20% of the state teachers to retire within the next five years. However, this pressure
is being eased to some extent by the State’s fiscal climate, which is causing strains in public
school finances. The near-term outlook is that the State’s budget condition will continue to be
weak and options to sustain school funding limited. As schools grapple with shortfalls,
retirements will be used to ease the district impacts; rather than fill positions with new teachers.
For new teachers who will enter the job market in the next couple years, the number of positions
may be significantly fewer than expected under better financial environment. The following
description of teacher hiring, repeats material presented in the 1999 report.

Hiring Gap

Assume that the teachers with 25 plus years of service will elect to retire over the next five years.
Using figures provided by the Michigan Department of Education in the 1998-1999 State Staff
Counts and the average percentage of teachers at appropriate grade levels (Table 4), the total
number of new teachers needed to replace retirees would be approximately 20,150: 8,677
elementary, 4,622 middle school, 5,364 high school, and 1,487 special education. Further,
assuming the retirements occur in equal proportions over the five years, 4,030 new teachers
would be needed each year. This figure could be pushed higher when normal attrition, district
demographics, and finances are considered.

According to the Michigan Department of Education’s teacher certification approvers,
approximately 5,500 new certified teachers are being approved annually. If the normal turnover
rate were to exceed 3%, the supply of new teachers would not be sufficient to cover the demand.
In other words, during much of this decade the Michigan colleges and universities have produced
a surplus of teachers. However, the dramatic (expected) increase in retirements will overwhelm
the surplus.

The unanswerable question at this point is whether the composition of teachers retiring,
according to grade level, will be similar to the composition of certificates approved. If for every
teaching slot open there is a corresponding certificate approved, the market will be able to clear
(assuming no differences in location and size of district). Yet, this equilibrium rarely occurs.
Instead more of one type of teacher, for example elementary, may be certified than is needed
while fewer high school teachers are prepared. The market may show desperate signs: one of
over supply, another of shortages.


In a tight labor market, job seekers have the advantage and can demand higher salaries and
additional benefits or perks. Employers who can pay higher salaries will attract the candidates.
The challenge facing public education is adjusting pay scales to reflect market conditions.
School districts are wedded to a long held precept that all teachers at the same level receive the
same salary. Thus the salary for a new teacher whether filling a fifth grade position or a high
school math position will be the same. The information in Table 2 illustrates this point: only a
very few districts pay higher salaries to math and science teachers. Those districts that tend to
tier salaries already are paying at the top of the range.

Adopting a tiered pay structure needs to be considered. College students trained in the sciences,
technology and mathematics have an increasing array of options where salaries are increasing to
levels school districts can not afford to pay. Colleges and universities have faced this situation in
their business and engineering programs. Tiered systems come with problems. As college
administrators comment: “One business faculty cost the equivalent of three English faculty.” As
long as the labor market is willing to pay higher wages for critical skills, public schools will
either (1) have to leave positions vacant (reducing class offerings) or (2) have to hire (shift)
teachers that may not possess the required skills in hopes to get by.

Even if the current salary structures remain in place, another problem is evident. Only about
one-fourth of the public school districts are in a position to offer competitive salaries. Most
districts remain below the average of non-educational salaries. As those districts with the money
remain competitive, tap into the available labor pool, the disparity between districts will continue
to grow. The bottom line is that all districts by financial barriers or choice cannot compete for
new teachers, as supply becomes restricted. The shortages will emerge in these districts first.

Retaining Potential Retirees

Age does not define a good teacher. Some teachers in their thirty’s are burned out, boring, or
just not interested in teaching; other teachers in their sixty’s still are excited about educating
young people and continually strive to excel in the classroom. Retaining key teachers who could
retire can be a challenge for any district; but a task necessary to bridge the shortage gap. What
financial incentives are available when retirement accounts are maxed out? What environmental
enhancements (classroom, technology, for example) could be made?

Districts have a potential array of options including variable contracts, bonuses, and alternative
retirement funding, as examples. Teachers can be offered contracts for a specific number of
classes or teaching days. Bonuses or a special pay scale for “pre-emeritus” teachers could be
instituted. An attractive option in some states has been to contribute to alternative retirement
funds. Whatever options are devised, creativity will be needed to retain a core cadre of teachers.


Beyond the short-term disruption in teacher labor markets caused by retirements, the demand for
teachers is best reflected in (1) public school enrollment and (2) birth rates. Baseline
demographics can provide a useful reference point to anticipate future staffing.

Michigan’s public school enrollment at the beginning of the 1990’s was 1,549,864 students
(1991). Near the end (1998) enrollments had increased to 1,659,840 (figures obtained from
Estimates of School Statistics 1994-95 and 1997-98, National Education Association). This
represents an increase of 7.1% or 1% per year. Actually in the years prior to 1995, school
enrollments were increasing slightly faster at 1.2%, than since 1995 where the rate was .75%.
While non-public school options have siphoned some students, Michigan’s growth rate places
the state in the bottom one-third in enrollment growth.

Annual births declined through the first half of the 1990’s from 153,080 (1990) to 134,243
(1996) or 12%. The 1996 figure represents a plateau in this decline. Even though schools have
recently experienced a surge in population due to the “boomer echo,” the rate of growth in
school population between 2000 and 2005 is expected to be well below one percent. After 2010
the population figures will drop sharply. (U.S. Bureau of Census, Preliminary Impact of 2000

The one positive demographic figure has been the turn around in migration patterns. During
much of the 1980’s and early 1990’s more people left Michigan than moved in. Thanks to a
strong economy, more individuals have moved into the state since 1995 (by several thousand per
year). These individuals will be attracted to areas with expanding job opportunities.

Bottom line for most districts is that natural growth in population cannot be counted on to sustain
enrollments. Nor can immigration contribute a sufficient number of children to bolster
enrollments. Districts experiencing growth will be doing so at the expense of other districts. For
the teacher labor market, the dynamics will tilt toward a constriction of opportunities.


To finance the promised foundation grant, the State has made a one-time money manipulation
that will at least postpone financing hardship for many public schools. (Some districts have not
been able to avoid this hardship). Academic years 2002-03 and 2003-04 promise to be extremely
difficult for districts. Even if the State begins to recover from the recession, it will take several
years to replenish its coffers. A reasonable expectation is that finances will remain restricted.
Some districts will lay-off teachers while others will reduce hiring. Depending on how the
financial picture develops, one possible scenario would be to move through this period of
retirements with minimum impact on teacher demand. In other words, the State may not need as
many teachers as anticipated.


Teacher shortages may be in the State’s future! However, the extent has been mitigated by
financial realities. Over the next decade, retirements will drive the labor market – with 20% of
the State teachers leaving the field. Pressure will be placed on the State’s colleges and
universities to produce enough teachers to fill the void, if financing returns to normal. The next
survey in this series will seek to see how strong the shortage has developed and determine how
finances may have impacted the picture.

                                WAYNE COUNTY DISTRICTS
                                 DATA SUMMARY (n = 18)

                                      Districts     Full-time    Districts    Part-time    Average
                                                   total hired               total hired   difficulty
Hired 2001-2002                          6             10           3             3           1.43
  Early childhood
  Primary                                15            50           1            1           1.25
  Intermediate                           11            55           --                       1.40
  Art                                     3             4           --                       2.67
  Music                                   4             6           1            1           4.60
  Physical education                      3             6           2            2           2.25
  Media/library science                   4             6           --           --          5.00
Middle School
  Math                                   10            14           --                       3.13
  Science                                 9            15           --                       2.11
  Language arts/English                  12            17           --                       1.60
  Social science                          4             5           --                       1.60
  Music                                   4             4           --                       3.75
  Library/media                           3             3           --                       3.67
  Computer technology                     3             4           --                       1.67
High School
  Math                                   11            20           --                       3.40
  Biology                                 2             3           --                       3.00
  Chemistry                               4             4           --                       2.50
  Physics                                 1             1           --                       3.00
  Earth/physical                          2             7           --                       3.00
  General science                         8            15           --                       1.50
  Social science                          6             8           --                       1.67
  Language arts/English                  12            22           1            1           1.64
  Computer technology                     3             3           --                       4.00
  Media technology                        2             2           1            5           3.00
  Vocal music (none)
  Instrumental music                     3             6            --                       4.00
  Art                                    2             2            --                       2.50
  Library science                        1             1            --                       5.00
  Speech/drama (none)
Vocational Education
  Business                               5             5            --                       2.75
  Agriculture (none)
  Technology                             2             2            --                       4.00
  Spanish                                5             6            --                       2.33
  German                                 3             3            --                       5.00
  French                                 5             5            --                       4.00
  Classics (none)
  Japanese (none)
Physical Education
(high school – middle school)            7             7            1            1           1.71
English 2nd language                     1             5            --                       5.00

 Elementary                            1              1    1         1            2.00
 Middle school                         1              1    --                     1.00
 High school                           3              5    --                     3.00
 Other                                 2              3    --                     2.00
 Elementary                            1              1    --                     2.00
Special Education
 Not specified                         2              30   --                     4.00
 Autism                                3               9   1         1            4.00
 Emotionally impaired                  6               9   1         1            4.17
 Hearing (none)
 Physically impaired                   2              3    --                     3.50
 Visually (none)
 Learning disability                   10             15   --                     3.78
 Mentally handicapped                   4              7   --                     3.75
Reading (none)
Speech Pathologist                     5            9                             4.20
Social Work                            6            8      1         1            2.20
 Total                                            *398              *18
 Average per district                              22                1

Average Starting Salary                        $                    Range $
  Early childhood                            33,724             31,366 – 38,256
  Elementary                                 34,031             31,366 - 38,256
  Middle school
    Math-science                             34,031             31,366 – 38,256
    Social science                           34,031             31,366 – 38,256
    Language arts/English                    34,031             31,366 – 38,256
    Technology                               34,094             31,366 – 38,256
    Special education                        33,226             31,366 – 39,490
Monetary Bonus: none
Housing Assistance: none
Student Loan Forgiveness: none
Reimburse for Additional coursework:
  23% (4)
Step Increase: 62% (10)

Teacher Preparation                               %
     Items        Not-Somewhat            Fairly Well        Very-Extremely   Average
       A               47                     20                   33          2.93
       B               13                     60                   27          3.20
       C                7                     53                   40          3.40
       D               47                     47                    6          2.67
       E               60                     27                   13          2.60
       F               27                     40                   33          3.13
       G                --                    40                   60          3.73
       H               27                     47                   26          3.13
        I               7                     33                   60          3.80
        J              20                     60                   20          3.13
       K               53                     33                   14          2.60
       L               27                     60                   13          2.93
       M               27                     47                   26          3.07
       N               27                     53                   20          3.00
       O               60                     27                   13          2.53
       P               73                     20                    7          2.13
       Q               47                     47                    6          2.53
       R               53                     33                   14          2.60
       S               47                     27                   26          2.87
       T               33                     40                   27          3.00
       U               33                     53                   15          2.87
       V               50                     25                   25          2.83
       W               14                     57                   29          3.14

Areas Best Prepared
       Comfortable using computers
       Receptive to collaborative learning situations
       Adequate practical training

Areas Least Prepared
       Aware of school improvement process
       Aware connections between education and careers
       Trained in methods to keep schools safe
       Account for differences in how boys and girls learn
       Able to evaluate content of web resources

Hiring from institutions
        Eastern Michigan University          17
        Wayne State University               14
        Michigan State University            13
        University of Michigan-Dearborn      12
        Western Michigan University          11
        Madonna                               9
        University of Michigan – AA           9
        Out-of-state                          8

Hiring Preference – filling positions
       New teachers with no experience      12%
       Experienced teachers 3-5 years        6%
       Mix: >50% new – no experience        71%
       Mix: <50% new – no experience        12%

Eligible for Retirement (%) within 5 Years
                                                  Average     None      >25
      Early childhood                               12         31        15
      Elementary                                    16         --        29
      Middle school
        Math-science                                 7         31       15
        All others                                  12         --       15
      High school
        Math-science                                11          7       21
        Social studies                              13         --       21
        English                                     11         --       24
        All others                                  10         --       24
      Special education                              7         15       15

Influence on District
                                                 %            %         %       %
                                            No-somewhat     Moderate   Very   Average
      Attrition                                  73           20         7     1.27
      Frustration profession                     93            7        --      .43
      Spouse relocation                          80           20        --      .73
      Retirement                                 53           40         7     2.47
      Demographics-growth*                       47           13        40     1.93
      Demographics-loss                          67            7        26     1.20
      School of choice                           67            7        26     1.53
      Class size                                 80            7        13     1.20
      Finances                                   40           27        33     2.00
       *Demographics – growth: Bipolar response

Number of students:
     Range                   1,707-17,802
     Average                 5,809

Rural:                       6% (1)
Suburban:                    77% (14)
Urban:                       17% (3)

Number of Teachers Hired 2000-2002
     Range                 6-150
     Average               39

Percentage of Students with Free Lunch
       Range                 3-89
       Average               29

Total Teaching Staff
       Range                    95-1,322
       Average                  388.5

Total Certified Teachers
       Range                    93-1,320
       Average                  381

s:\ceri\Brenda\teacher study/teacher report 2002


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