Teach for America using $30 million to offer fellowships for teachers at five Michigan schools

Following a successful last few years of Teach for America Detroit's work within the local school district, the program is rolling out a multi-million dollar investment that expands the model to around Detroit.

TeachMichigan hopes to draw more teachers to economically-disadvantaged communities with a $30 million investment over the next five years. Communities in Kentwood, Saginaw, Sault Saint Marie, Traverse City, and Benzie County. 

The goal, according to TeachMichigan's announcement this week, is to help develop 700 teachers that can improve the learning experience and outcomes of 250,000 students at under-resourced schools.

The teachers assigned to these schools will be eligible to receive up to $35,000 over three years, as well as 10 hours a month of professional development and other coaching assistance.

The model that TeachMichigan will follow is adapted from TFA Detroit's work. Fellowships through the organization have led to a 95% retention rate among "high-impact educators in Detroit schools" a release said.

The rollout is timed with increasingly negative news about the state of Michigan education. Apart from the pandemic, which affected learning for students around the country, education in Michigan has struggled to maintain consistency in its curriculum and ensuring students are reading and writing at the necessary levels.

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The executive director of TFA Detroit says that's not the teacher's fault.

"The problems facing our educators and students are not a people problem, they’re a systems problem," said Armen Hratchian, executive director, TFA Detroit.

"TeachMichigan is directly investing in educators and leaders in systemically under-resourced communities because we know those are the people who are best positioned to change the long-term outcomes for our kids, and to build better systems for all teachers to be more valued," she added. 

TFA says Michigan ranks 43rd nationally for 4th grade reading proficiency and 36th for 4th grade math proficiency.

Fellows will be able to participate on three tracks:

  • Early Career educators - Those seeking to strengthen their skills in the classroom
  • Nationally board-certified educators - Those focused on more tenured educators looking to pursue certification
  • Aspiring leaders - For experienced teachers seeking to take on a more administrative or supervisory role in a school or school system