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Teachers Who Are Not Teaching: Who Are They and What Would Motivate Their Return to Teaching?

August 2020

REL Midwest analyzed Michigan’s teacher certification data, employment data, and data from a survey of teachers who are not teaching to inform education leaders about the viability of recruiting from the pool of certified teachers who are not teaching (that is those who never taught or those who taught but left their position) to alleviate teacher shortages. The study provides information on the characteristics of teachers who are not teaching, the reasons they are not teaching, and the types of incentives that might persuade them to work as a teacher in a public school. The study found that certified teachers who are not teaching in public schools indicated that low salaries were a main reason for not teaching, and that increasing salaries might motivate them to teach in a Michigan public school. Nonteaching teachers also may consider becoming a public school teacher if earning or renewing teaching certificates was easier and less costly, if they could more easily find full-time and part-time positions, and if they were assured of school leadership support and smaller class sizes.

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