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More teachers retiring during the pandemic

After the significant increase in retirees last year. Early data for 2021 also shows an above average trend this year.
Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 5:28 PM EDT
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UPPER MICHIGAN, Mich. (WLUC) - For more than a year, teachers have been forced to adapt during the pandemic. Many are now teaching in-person and online classes. Now more are leaving the profession entirely.

“When you factor in the additional expectations and stressors involved with the school environment right now, for those that are eligible to retire some are choosing to exit sooner rather than later,” said Royce Humm, Michigan Association of Retired School Personnel Executive Director.

While an increase in retirement is not being seen at NICE Community Schools, teachers still have an increased workload.

“We’ve tried to continue to offer in-person learning, digital-distance learning and hard-copy correspondence learning,” said Bryan DeAugustine. “It’s almost like teaching for three different schools at the same time.”

It’s that workload that has more teachers leaving the profession statewide.

“In 2020, we saw about 800 more retirees than in past years which represents about an 18% increase,” said Humm.

This is making the teacher shortage that existed before the pandemic, even worse.

“There are more teachers exiting the profession via retirement and moving onto other careers than there are coming in,” said DeAugustine.

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows Michigan ranks second worst in the nation in enrollment at teacher preparation programs. Now, the search for how to draw more teachers in remains.

“People do this as a livelihood, not just as a hobby and they deserve to be compensated for it,” said DeAugustine. “I think the answer lies in there somewhere. Just ramping up the respect for teachers.”

After the significant increase in retirees last year. Early data for 2021 also shows an above average trend this year.

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