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Future teachers, we need you

We were excited to read reporter Crystal Nelson’s recent story saying Alcona Community Schools had recently received $10,000 from the state to help students in middle school and high school explore careers in education.

Teachers are the foundation of the nation. The skills and work ethic they help instill in our students today will determine the kinds of workers, entrepreneurs, inventors, and leaders we have tomorrow.

Yet we’re building a foundation that’s too small.

In eight years, enrollment in Michigan’s teacher prep programs dropped 70%, Bridge Magazine reported last year, with 16,000 fewer college students majoring in K-12 education in the 2017 than in 2009. Too few teachers can drive up class sizes and pull away from available course offerings.

So we are thrilled to read about the state’s Future Proud Michigan Explore Program coming to Alcona, where a class or some sort of program could give students real-world exposure to teaching as a profession. We hope many students are inspired into the meaningful field.

Schools and our state policymakers need to do more to support teachers. Bridge also reported last year that just a quarter of Michigan teachers said in a survey they’d recommend the profession to young people considering a career in education. We need to make sure the career is a worthwhile one.

But programs like the one coming to Alcona are an important step toward rebuilding our foundation for the future.

We encourage any student even curious about teaching to take advantage.

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