GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — An oversupply of new teachers combined with fewer students has created a tough job market for education graduates in Michigan, and some are leaving the state to look for work, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

While some public school officials view that as a “drain” on public education, others say it creates a buyer’s market for school districts looking to hire, according to The Press.

Several factors are driving the oversupply of teachers, The Press reported. One is the dwindling number of public school students — down by 8 percent in the past five years. Another is that Michigan universities are turning out more teachers than ever, The Press reported. Martin Ackley, a spokesman with the Michigan Department of Education, told The Press that the state has granted 7,980 provisional teaching certificates to new teachers already this year, up 35 percent from the year before and the most since 2007.

School districts also are not hiring new teachers because of tight budgets, a scenario that teacher graduates are likely to find everywhere, not just in Michigan, one school superintendent told The Press.

Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Michael Shibler criticized reductions in public school funding that he said could have been used to hire top-quality teachers that may be leaving the state, The Press reported. But Grandville Public Schools Superintendent Ron Caniff said that his district receives 1,000 applications per job vacancy and has no difficulty finding quality teachers, The Press reported.

SOURCE:

The Grand Rapids Press, “Say goodbye to Michigan teachers: As school budgets shrink, so do their numbers,” Aug. 8, 2011

FURTHER READING:

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “School Districts Ignoring Labor Market Signals,” May 2, 2011

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