Students frustrated with lack of certified teachers in Detroit Public Schools Community District

DETROIT (WXYZ) - "I would like to be an engineer,” said Alex White, a student at Cody Medicine and Community Health Academy.

White says he enrolled in the school because he thought he would get a quality math and science education. He says it is shocking that all 9th graders at the school, including him, do not have a certified math teacher.  They say they have to teach themselves.

“Basically it is just worksheets,” said ninth grader Eli Loftin of what a math education without a certified teacher includes.

 “It is frustrating,” said White.

It isn’t just math. Sources tell Seven Action News there are special education, English, and Spanish classes at the school  taught by substitutes.

Tierra Richards says the substitute trying to teach Spanish doesn’t know the language.

“You can’t really teach a subject that you don’t really know,” said Richards.

Teacher Shalon Miller says it is a problem district wide.

“I think we are missing 264 teachers district-wide. We have a little under 100 schools. We have 163 of those positions with permanent subs and 90 something of those positions unfilled. It is January 30th,” said Miller.

The district did not confirm or deny the numbers she had for teacher vacancies. A spokesperson said only there were about 200 vacancies.

The students wanted to speak out on the problem after they heard the State School Reform Office is considering closing their school for poor performance on standardized tests.  They say closing the school isn’t the answer.

They have one idea that could help boost test scores.  Teachers.

“We have low test scores, but how do we improve with no teacher to teach us?” asked White.

"Detroit Public Schools Community District has several vacancies across the district and is actively working to fill critical shortage areas,” said the district in a statement in response to the story.  "The Department of Human Resources is scheduled to attend 25 career fairs across the state in search of highly-qualified certified teachers. The district is also planning another hiring fair in the spring to attract talent from area colleges and universities."

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