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State Superintendent: Michigan Teachers Should Make $100K

The head of the Michigan Department of Education says higher salaries for teachers is what the state needs to attract better qualified math and science teachers.

If you want better qualified math and science teachers, you have to pay them more.

That's was the recent message from state Superintendent Mike Flanagan, who heads up the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). Flanagan spoke to an assembly of scientists at Michigan State Monday, noting that the state needs more math and science teachers.

However, according to Flanagan, most scientists and mathematicians don't consider teaching in public schools to be a viable career option.

"We can do all we want with content standards, but the elephant in the room is that it won't do much good if we don't have enough math and science teachers in our schools," Flanagan said, according to a press release from the state.

So how much do Flanagan think teachers should make? $100,000 a year, he said.

"When you ratchet up teacher salaries to $100,000-plus, market forces will director more mid-career changers and you'll attract more math and science college students into our educator prep programs," he said.

In Birmingham, the average teachers salary in 2010-11, according to district officials, was $75,323.07. 

That's lower than the average salary in Troy, at $76,726 but higher than the average teachers salary in Bloomfield Hills and Rochester. According to statistics from the MDE website, the average salary in Bloomfield Hills was $69,764 and $69,584 in Rochester.

However,average teacher salaries varying by tens of thousands of dollars across the state. No district's average salary hit $100,000 in 2010-11.

"We need to be moving all teachers to that salary level ($100,000) to continue getting the best and brightest people educating our students," Flanagan said. "It's all about talent."

Will increasing the salaries of Michigan teachers attract more math and science teachers?

Correction: The average teachers salary at Birmingham Public Schools in 2010-11 was $75,323.07, district officials said Jan. 31. The original version of this story incorrectly stated that Birmingham had the highest average teacher salary in the state, at $94,703. This number was provided by the Michigan Department of Education, however district officials said this week that salary data had been mis-reported to the state in 2011.

Gabrielle Mason February 02, 2013 at 01:37 PM
So well said, Sandy! As for why Laura chose to share the state superintendent's comments--- why not? It is absolutely relevant to every Michigan tax payer, and as much as Joyce may not like it, that is news. I think this thread should be finished since a spokesperson for the MDE came on her and posted herself how the numbers, while incorrect, were not skewed by this writer. Pitchforks and torches away, folks. And... is it of concern to anyone else why Joyce is SO interested in this FOIA, especially for someone so concerned with the transparency of others? What does it matter why Laura FOIA'd that information for BPS teachers, she probably puts out dozens of FOIAs a month. If there's nothing to hide, the FOIA will be a dead end. That being said... Mr. Elrick at FOX 2 news has been doing a LOT of FOIAing lately, and the result was 14 parole violations and a weekend in jail. FOIAs are part of journalism, which so many people here seem to know so much about since they're telling Laura how to do it. And its a part of the job even when readers like Joyce, or Kwame, don't like it.
Joyce Laszczak February 02, 2013 at 01:57 PM
Ladies, I'm puzzled by your comments that teachers are pouting bullies yet find it acceptable to call me witless and to compare me to Kwame, a convicted criminal. Geez. I simply wanted to know why teacher salaries are so important since it appears to be a thinly veiled opportunity to teacher bash, which is where I see this thread has gone. So, good job, Laura. I will say no more, ladies. Insult away. I hope you have a nice day.
Gabrielle Mason February 02, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Oh, all of a sudden hurling insults in a public forum is inappropriate? Don't dish it out if you can't take it. Teacher salaries are as important as any salary paid for by taxes. I' m glad to read about the payroll that I help contribute to, and I wish more publications would do the same. I fully intend to write Letters to the Editor to The Eccentric, The Eagle, and The Detroit News in hopes they will increase their coverage of such matters. And you shouldn't be telling Laura she's done a good job-- it's apparent you don't mean it. What you should do is apologize for attempting to wrongfully defame her.
Lucy in the sky February 02, 2013 at 02:47 PM
Geez Joyce, now I am the one who is puzzled as to WHY it was so important for me to publicly state my salary before you would consider my comment to be of any worth or value. Although I could validly challenge your values WITHOUT knowing your salary, I will at this point refrain from further comment in respect of being the better person and not following in your bullying tactics.
Laura Houser February 02, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Hi everyone. I will be turning off comments on this story as the discussion has gone beyond the subject of the article — Mike Flanagan's statement that Michigan teachers should make $100,000 a year. Thank you for your discussion and engagement. If you would like address any issues pertaining to Birmingham or Birmingham Public Schools, you can submit a Letter to the Editor anytime by emailing me at Laura.Houser@patch.com.

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