K-12 Alliance of Michigan Calls for the Office of Retirement Services to Let Teachers, Support Staff Back in the Classroom
The K-12 Alliance of Michigan today has called for the Michigan Office of Retirement Services (ORS) to stop impeding the return of retired teachers and other support staff to schools. As current critical staff shortages are harming the ability of schools across Michigan to deliver services to students, ORS continues to advocate against changing the outdated and damaging laws that prevent recently retired school staff members from returning to classrooms and helping our students succeed.
“As schools across the country continue to deal with the impact of the pandemic, the staff shortage crisis has reached a critical level in Michigan. Meanwhile, ORS is effectively making it more difficult to bring back qualified retired educators and other staff members into classrooms where they are needed,” said Erik Edoff, K-12 Alliance of Michigan President and Superintendent of L’Anse Creuse Schools. “If we have experienced educators who are willing to return to teaching, we should be thanking and supporting them. We call on ORS to update the rules that do not meet the needs of the current educational landscape or encourage the legislature to take action and address this critical need.”
According to research, the number of students pursuing teacher training programs has drastically decreased since the early 2000s. In 2017, less than 3,000 students completed teacher training programs in Michigan, compared to over 8,000 in the early 2000s. Despite these trends, the ORS continues to uphold unnecessary barriers for recently retired school employees.
Educators have spoken with lawmakers for months about the significant harm ORS rules are doing to our schools, however, ORS has continued to oppose changes despite numerous other states clearing the way for retired educators to return to the classroom.
“This bureaucratic roadblock is unacceptable, and it’s time for the ORS to allow teachers, paraprofessionals, coaches and other critically needed staff members to come back sooner and with a salary that is up to par with their years of expertise,” added Robert McCann, K-12 Alliance of Michigan’s Executive Director. “While we applaud Governor Whitmer’s MI Future Educator program and the Talent Together initiative for their commitment to addressing the teacher shortage in Michigan, we need help in the short-term as well and instead ORS is proving to be an obstacle. Now more than ever, we need experienced and qualified teachers in our classrooms to address the learning loss and mental health side effects of the pandemic.”
The K-12 Alliance of Michigan is a coalition of education leaders committed to fighting for strong K-12 schools across Michigan. Comprised of Superintendents from every district in Genesee, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne counties, they are collectively responsible for educating over half of Michigan’s students.