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Michigan teachers see pay decline

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Michigan teachers are earning less pay than in previous years, according to new research from Michigan State University.

The average annual salary of nearly $65,000 for a Michigan teacher is similar to salaries in nearby states, although it is slightly below the national average. Researchers found a significant decline in teacher salaries over the past two decades, when adjusted for inflation.

Jason Burns of MSU’s Education Policy Innovation Collaborative is the lead author of the report.

It’s hard to point out a single specific thing that says this is the smoking gun, more or less. “In many ways, what it comes down to is that Michigan simply hasn’t invested in education as much as many other states have.”

Burns says that until 2000, Michigan was one of the highest-paying states for educators. However, it is now around 16th or 17th due to a roughly 20% decline in inflation-adjusted salaries.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recommended retention bonuses for teachers last year, but they were not included in the final state budget. This year’s final state budget included enough money for Michigan school districts to give teachers $600 to $800 more per year.