There has been a thirty nine percent (39%) decline in Special Education graduates from educator preparation programs with just four hundred and thirteen (413) graduating in 2016 down from six hundred and seventy two (672) in 2012.  This has resulted in increased class sizes for special education.

  2009-10 2017-18
Special Education Teachers 12,843 11,060
Special Education Students 219,241 198,536
Student – Teacher Ratio 17.1 18.0


  • This is not just a Michigan problem – according to Edweek, 31% of school districts said it was difficult or they were not able to fill all their special education positions.
  • In 2018, the special education teacher shortage was so severe in Flint Michigan that the school district was sued for lack of special education teachers. The lawsuit claimed that Flint lacked 25% of the teachers necessary to properly teach the special education students in Flint Community Schools
  • Traditional SPED certification routes are not providing enough teachers to fill the statewide gap

There is a new bill, SB 657 that will help solve this special education teacher shortage. The bill would allow alternative certification programs like Michigan Teachers to apply to be a provider of Special Education teachers.

About Michigan Teachers of Tomorrow:

  • Michigan Teachers of Tomorrow was approved in Michigan in 2017 and has recruited, prepared and placed over two hundred and fifty (250) teachers in Michigan schools; in that time over six hundred and forty (640) have joined the program and many are still working on their certification. The program is working on Special Education due to the request of many school districts in Michigan that have no other solution for filling these much needed positions.

    Michigan Teachers is part of Teachers of Tomorrow – a national organization that recruits, prepares and certifies teachers in eight (8) states.  Over 60,000 teachers have gone through the program and started working in schools. Over forty-six percent (46%) are teachers of color making it one of the most diverse programs in the country.  Teachers of Tomorrow has a seventy percent (70%) five (5) year retention rate and a large scale study in Texas found teachers in the program had comparable student achievement results when compared to teachers from standard routes.

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