Michigan State University (MSU) is shortening the length of its teacher preparation program from five to four years in an effort to address the continuing teacher shortage across both the state and the country.
MSU announced Friday that students can transition to or start a four-year program beginning in fall 2023.
The teacher preparation program will retain core elements, including a one-year internship and curriculum that focuses on social justice and equity, according to a press release from MSU.
At the same time, making the program shorter helps teaching students save about $16,700 in tuition, not including travel and living expenses.
Michigan has been experiencing a significant shortage of teachers for several years. Research completed in 2021 by MSU’s Education Policy Innovation Collaborative, the Michigan Department of Education and the Center for Educational Performance found that more Michigan teachers were leaving the profession than new teachers were entering, according to the press release.
Researchers also found that newly hired teachers were less likely to renew their teaching certificates.
Michigan’s research coincides with a nationwide teacher shortage. The National Education Association estimates there’s a shortage of roughly 300,000 teachers and staff across the U.S. The teacher shortage is particularly pronounced in rural school districts, where the need for special education teachers and STEM teachers is high.