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MASB, MASA, MAISA, MASSP: Education Leaders Respond to Coalition's Educator Survey Results

The much-anticipated results of the Launch Michigan coalition’s educator survey were released today. The coalition is a diverse alliance of education, labor, business and philanthropic organizations committed to establishing a shared agenda to ensure all Michigan students receive a quality education. Leaders of Michigan’s education organizations said these results help further instruct the ongoing efforts in the education community to address Michigan’s educator shortage. They’ve been hearing the concerns first-hand or anecdotally for years. But now quantitative data validates the state of teacher job satisfaction, as well as sets the framework for effective policy change.

Nearly 17,000 teachers and administrators responded to the survey, which was created to gather insights from educators across Michigan about what is needed to ensure continued development and retention of a quality education workforce in the state’s public schools. 

“The survey results validate our focus on educator recruitment and retention in this state,” said Chris Wigent, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators. “We look forward to working with our partners to find solutions that will support Michigan educators and ensure that students succeed.”

While feedback shared in the survey showed that most educators plan to stay in the field, only one in four would recommend the career path to others due to concerns. Educators say the things that most negatively affect their professional satisfaction include lack of support from policymakers and politicians (72%) and lack of respect for the profession (66%). 

The results also conveyed pain points for what would likely cause educators (12%, or more than one in 10) to leave education for a different career in the next two to three years. Statistical analysis suggests that important drivers include class sizes (a larger class size predicts leaving), and a number of attitudes and experiences, including feeling constrained rather than empowered in the classroom. 

“We’re very appreciative of the thousands of educators who took the time to share their thoughts and experiences,” said Don Wotruba, CAE, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of School Boards. “It is critical to further inform the work of the coalition and other entities in the state by confirming what affects those on the front line and determining what could ultimately be deciding factors in their career longevity.”

Educators who took the survey also pointed to an overall lack of support to improve job performance. 

Wendy Zdeb, Executive Director of MASSP noted, “Teachers who responded to the survey have indicated that they need more support from building-level leaders, and improvements need to be made in the evaluation process. These are areas MASSP will continue to develop training, supports and resources around to assist principals in meeting the needs of their staff.” 

The data also revealed gaps in literacy supports, a topic that has been addressed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in her budget and State of the State address. This continues to be an area where association partners are focused, including MAISA’s work with the Early Literacy Task Force.

“MAISA continues to emphasize the critical importance of collaborative efforts to support educators and to improve achievement for all students,” said Bill Miller, Executive Director of MAISA.

The survey results announcement also coincides with the release of MASA’s Educator Shortage Strategic Plan. Feedback shared in the Launch Michigan survey will be utilized in MASA’s work toward addressing the educator shortage in Michigan.

The education organizations will continue to take part in the conversations around this data as members of the Launch Michigan coalition. Policy recommendations will be shared later this spring with the state legislative and executive branches.