Eastpointe Middle School returns in-person after teacher shortage forced virtual learning

Posted at 5:50 AM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 06:01:17-04

(WXYZ) — Eastpointe Middle School is welcoming students back into the classroom on Monday after unexpected teacher resignations forced the school to switch to online learning.

Over the course of the week, district leaders were able to fill some critical positions, but pandemic-related staffing shortages continue to be an issue at the district and around the country.

National data points to COVID-19-related stress, and it's pushed a lot of educators to a tipping point. Some feel overworked, underpaid, and in some cases, unsafe.

At this point, Eastpointe Community School District alone has 43 empty positions.

Lincoln Stocks, the president of the Eastpointe Federation of Teachers, said last week that other teachers are getting poached by districts that can pay more.

Staffing-wise, it's filling one hole and leaving another in a less financially sound district.

"We realized that there's a crisis here, and we're going to do our best to address that crisis," Stocks said. "But we also can't, you know, we can't destroy the economic viability of the district."

Last week, two teachers at the middle school just quit without any notice.

The district's website clearly shows the problem has been brewing for some time – a long list of open positions, most jobs available for teachers.

The superintendent said over 20% of teacher positions are vacant.

"We have some who are going to other positions in education. some going to other school districts, we have other people who are leaving education altogether. and then and then we also have people who have other childcare issues or other things, challenges that they've been facing," Ryan McLeod said.

According to a June survey of nearly 2,700 members of the National Education Association, 32% said the pandemic pushed them to leave the job earlier than expected.

Another survey from the Rand Corporation now says 25% of teachers are considering quitting after this school year.