State Supt. Flanagan: Michigan Teachers Should Make $100K

The head of the Michigan Department of Education asserts that higher wages would encourage more people to become teachers.

The key to getting more qualified math and science teachers into Michigan schools is simple, according to state Superintendent Mike Flanagan: pay them more.

Flanagan, who heads up the Michigan Department of Education, said Monday at an assembly of scientists at Michigan State University that Michigan schools need more math and science teachers. The problem, he said, is that most scientists and mathamaticians don't consider teaching in public schools to be a viable career option.

“We can do all we want with content standards, but the elephant in the room is that it won’t do much good if we don’t have enough math and science teachers in our schools,” Flanagan said while discussing science standards in K-12 shools, according to a release from the state.

“When you ratchet-up teacher salaries to $100,000-plus, market forces will direct more mid-career changers and you’ll attract more math and science college students into our educator prep programs,” he added. “We need to be moving all teachers to that salary level to continue getting the best and brightest people educating our students.

“It’s all about talent.”

Average teacher salaries, according to statistics released annually by the MDE, vary by tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the school district. No district's average salary in 2010-11 hit $100,000.

For example, the average salary for a teacher within Novi Community Schools in 2010-11 was $76,030. For Northville Public Schools, the average teacher salary in 2010-11 was $75,070.

Do you think Michigan teachers should have higher salaries? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Correction: The average teachers salary at Birmingham Public Schools in 2010-11 was $75,323.07, district officials said Jan. 31. The original version of this story incorrectly stated that Birmingham had the highest average teacher salary in the state, at $94,703. This number was provided by the Michigan Department of Education, however district officials said this week that salary data had been mis-reported to the state in 2011.

Carol Maynard January 30, 2013 at 04:05 PM
I think that Teacher's salaries should be based on "What they Teach." Lower the State requirements for teaching Special Education and K - 3, and then you could justify lowering the Salaries. For example, It doesn't take a 4 year degree to teach a Special Education student life skills. Many Special Education Teachers are making $80,000 and up in salaries for this. On the other Hand, High School Math/Science Teachers need much more education and should be paid accordingly. So, we need to adjust the State Requirements for different grade levels AND adjust the salaries of Teachers according to needs and difficulty of subject.
Denise Nash January 31, 2013 at 02:05 AM
Respectfully, Special Education teachers teach children that are Autistic, Emotionally Impaired, Blind, Deaf and others. They also teach nearly year around, because these children lose so much ground when not in school. That is why Special Education teachers make more money and need to be highly skilled in their area of expertise. It isn't just "life skills". People don't seem to realize that Math teachers major in Math. It's a very difficult path through school. My daughter is student teaching right now and she had to take several math theory classes. My niece the engineer was amazed, she didn't have to take math that hard. The bottom line is that we need to value teachers instead of disparaging them. No one wants to go into a field where they are considered "the enemy" of the people because they are public workers.


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