Pontiac schools team up with Davenport for teacher scholarships – The Oakland Press
The Pontiac School District seeks to compensate for teacher losses by partnering with Davenport University.
The two will create 75 new scholarships toward urban education degrees or certificates that will be available to current students, teachers, and parents in the district.
“This is part of the vision of the Pontiac school and the community,” said Kelly Williams, Superintendent of Pontiac Schools. “This will be a game-changer for the Pontiac school district.”
The Urban Education Partner School program will offer up to $12,000 per academic year for a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering, and urban mathematics (STEM). Davenport will also offer $7,000 for a master’s degree in urban education or a graduate certificate in urban education.
Scholarships will be available for 25 students, 25 teachers and 25 parents.
“The shortage of talented teachers is a major crisis for Michigan and at its heart is the growth and development of our children as talent that will drive our future economy,” said Richard Pappas, president of Davenport. “The Pontiac School District is among the first to participate in our College of Urban Education offerings in Eastern Michigan.”
Davenport has also partnered with the Grand Rapids School District for the same scholarships through their Urban Education Program. They plan to offer scholarships to ten school districts across the state.
The Pontiac has lost 3% of its teaching staff each year since 2018, for a total of 129 teachers. They currently have 63 vacancies across all content areas.
Teacher retention in the Pontiac is emblematic of a statewide problem.
According to a survey of Michigan educators, teacher retirements have increased by 44% since August 2020, while 18,000 educators are eligible for retirement and 12,000 are eligible for early retirement.
The survey of 2,600 educators released in February found that 91% said they were extremely or very concerned about staffing shortages. According to the survey, 97% of educators believe that increasing salary and benefits would increase retention.
“When I started as state superintendent in August 2019, many Michigan policymakers were still denying the widespread nature of the shortage that my fellow superintendents and I had been pointing out for some years,” Michigan Superintendent Michael Rice wrote in an opinion column last October. “Now, unfortunately, the pandemic has exacerbated the shortage and consequently increased the stress on teachers, support staff and school administrators, and further caused undeserved pressure on our children.”
Nationally, there were 386,000 teaching vacancies in February 2022, according to the latest available data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. A decade earlier, there were 108,000 openings.