LANSING — State Rep. Patrick Green (D-Warren) joined House and Senate Democrats today to announce a Teachers for Michigan education plan. The plan constitutes an overhaul of the state’s K-12 schools and is designed to foster, cultivate and keep teaching talent in the Great Lakes State.
“It is no secret, we need to work on our schools. The first step in improving our state’s public education system is ensuring we have excellent teachers in the classroom. Recent attacks on teachers have made the profession seem less attractive to college graduates, and even impossible for many teachers to stay.” said Green. “Ensuring a teacher’s retirement is funded and secure is the first step of many to encourage good teachers stay in the classroom and attract excellent teachers to our schools.”
Green’s bill — House Bill 5471 — would eliminate provisions in the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) Act that were approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature in the recent changes made to the law. HB 5471 would remove two provisions passed in last year’s MPSERS reform requiring teachers, for the first time, to share in the cost of any unfunded liabilities to the retirement system. Additionally, HB 5471 would remove a provision allowing the retirement age to be increased if the pension plan is less than 100% funded and mortality studies show people are living longer.
“Many of us know teachers who have left the profession. When I talk to young people deciding on their careers, fewer are choosing teaching which isn’t surprising given the constant attack on their benefits, salaries, and job security.” said Green. “Michigan’s kids need a good education to prepare them for higher education or a trade school so that employers can find the talent they need right here in our communities. In order for that to happen, we have to have the best teachers in the classroom. If we can’t keep teachers in their post, it doesn’t bode well for the future of the kids in our state. This is an important package of bills and I look forward to working with my colleagues on moving these bills through the Legislature.”
Among the bills in the Teachers for Michigan are those to:
- Establish an Underrepresented Teacher Recruitment Program.
- Create an Early Childhood Educators Act.
- Provide stipends for student teachers serving at economically disadvantaged schools.
- Allow for up to 10 years of student loan debt forgiveness.
- Provide a one-time bonus of $3,000 to $5,000 for newly hired teachers, or a one-time relocation bonus.
- Award an annual bonus of $1,800 to math, science, and special education teachers.
- Establishing Mentor Teacher Pay.
- Create a Teacher Recruitment and Retention Scholarship Fund.
- Set a teacher-student ratio of 1:20, or one teacher per every 20 students.
- Increase the number of educators recognized as Teacher of the Year.
- Allow certified teachers to request tuition reimbursement from the school district.