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Reporter Jennifer Guerra takes a deep dive look at how we go about paying teachers in Michigan and what it means for teacher retention and teacher performance in the state.Scroll below to see all four reports.

Teacher pay: Michigan Radio survey uncovers frustration across the state

A child at a desk raising his hand.
Mercedes Mejia
Michigan Radio

We entrust our kids with Michigan's teachers five days a week. Yet most us of probably don't know much  about the way our teachers are paid. The truth might be surprising.

This week, Michigan Radio's Jennifer Guerra is exploring teacher pay in Michigan, and what it means for keeping the best teachers in their classrooms instead of seeing them flee for more lucrative and less stressful jobs elsewhere.

The foundation for her series of reports is a Michigan Radio survey of almost 400 teachers in 118 districts across the state, conducted earlier this year. The conclusions from the survey are complex, but the overall feeling from respondents was negative, Guerra said.

“People were just so upset and frustrated,” she said.

Many teachers said they were particularly disillusioned with frequent pay freezes, Guerra added. Though a traditional system means pay increases over time, a pay freeze could derail that.

“You could be teaching seven years in a district, and be frozen on step one,” she said, referring to starting teachers' pay.

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