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Parents fear there won't be enough teachers for Detroit Public Schools

Posted: 6:08 PM, Aug 11, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-12 12:32:49-04
Will there be enough teachers for DPS this year?
Will there be enough teachers for DPS this year?

It is a major crisis that parents fear will leave their kids without teachers come fall. We told you how Detroit Public Schools couldn’t find teachers for every classroom last year. Despite the fact Lansing took action to keep the district out of bankruptcy, the problem persists.

There are 25 days until the start of the school year and still numerous vacancies.

Parents like Lynn Garland want to know what is being done to make sure there is a teacher in every classroom.  Her son is going to be entering one of the most elite and selective high schools. He has a history of getting all As. His education matters to him and his mom.

“Even though he is going to Cass Tech, I have concerns,” said Garland. “I have heard there are even teacher shortages there.”

At the end of the last school year, the Detroit Federation of Teachers said there were 200 vacancies. Sources tell 7 Action News that since then the district has been hiring. The problem is that many teachers resigned or retired over the summer.

The school district says an exact number of teacher vacancies is not available, but working to reassure parents.

“I want to say to every parent out there, as a former teacher I believe it is critically important to make sure teachers are in every single classroom,” said Alycia Meriweather, DPSCD Interim Superintendent. “We are going to be working around the clock to make sure that happens.”

Meriweather says school principals return from summer break on Monday. They will begin interviewing candidates right away.

Parents are not just worried about having teachers, but qualified teachers.

“Not only do I want to see a teacher in every classroom, I want to see a qualified certified teacher in every classroom,” said Garland. "I have no tolerance for anybody outside this district saying what is good for Detroit, when you’re not living here, you’re not invested here, and your children are not going here."

She fears the district will take advantage of a new state law that allows uncertified teachers only in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. 7 Action News asked Meriweather if that law would be taken advantage of to address the shortage.

“The law allows that only in the Detroit Public Schools Community District,” said Meriweather.  “We have taken the stand that is not what we feel is best for kids. The law allows it, but that doesn’t mean we have to do it.”

Last school year, there were thousands of kids in classrooms without teachers. Meriweather is hoping to set a new standard. She is asking teachers that want to help to apply to work with the district.

The district is planning several job fairs to recruit teachers. An Early Childhood Employment Fair will be held on Friday, August 12 from 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.  It will be at the Fleming Administration Building at 18501 Waltham in Detroit.  For more information on openings go to detroitk12.org.