Fed Up with COVID: 44 Percent Increase in Michigan Teacher Retirements

teacher in the classroom


Michigan has seen a huge spike in teacher retirements during the past year, with many of those teachers citing COVID-19 restrictions as the reason for calling it quits.

“From August through February, there was a 44 percent increase in midyear retirements compared with the same period in 2019-2020 as 749 teachers left public school classrooms in the middle of the school year, state data show,” Crain’s Business Detroit reported.

Amy Moening was a teacher for Roseville Community Schools for 28 years. Now, she is retiring.

“COVID has tipped the scales,” she reportedly said. “What teachers are being asked to do is superhuman.” “Most teachers say they’re doing twice as much work they were doing pre-COVID with even less planning time.”

Star News Education Foundation Journalism ProjectOne of the major stresses for teachers has been remote learning.

While teacher’s unions flex their muscles to keep teachers out of the classroom, fearing for their health during the pandemic, their members are struggling to teach their students remotely, or in hybrid sessions.

“It’s like you’re talking to a wall sometimes,” said Dwight Pierson, a high school math teacher in St. John’s, Michigan. “It’s a little bit of a circus every day.”

Pierson has been forced to teach students in class, while teaching others via Zoom, due to the state’s hybrid model of learning. Students cycle in and out of the classroom, sometimes learning from home, and other times learning in person.

“After 29 years on the job, Pierson, 51, is not sure he wants to return to the ‘circus’ next year, knowing that schools will likely have to continue offering a virtual distance-learning option that forces him to effectively teach two different classes at once,” Crain’s Detroit Business said.

With 18,629 K-12 public school teachers eligible to retire at any time and receive a full pension, a massive teacher shortage could be on the horizon.

Adding to the potential problem, the report said that “11,975 teachers have 20 to 25 years of service and are close to being eligible to retire early, depending on whether they have bought up to five years of service credit used to calculate lifetime pensions.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Michigan Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].




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