The Detroit Public Schools are short more than 1000 certified teachers, but the district has 440 such teachers performing administrative tasks as department heads, curriculum leaders or staff coordinators, and often not teaching, reports Peggy Walsh-Sarnecki in the Detroit Free Press. While these teachers-who cost the district about $90,000 per year-have contracts that require them to teach up to three classes (depending on the number of teachers they supervise), a survey conducted by the Detroit Federation of Teachers found that 60 percent taught no classes and 36 percent taught one or two. According to a spokesperson from the state's largest teacher union, the Michigan Education Association, most department heads in other Michigan districts teach more than they do in Detroit; many, in fact, teach full time. Last year, Detroit superintendent Kenneth Burnley ordered 400 administrators back into the classroom, but observers say little has changed. If the existing teacher corps were more effectively deployed in Detroit and other urban districts that are said to have the same problem, we might not have acute teacher hiring and class size crises in these districts year after year.
"Schools' use of teachers questioned," by Peggy Walsh-Sarnecki, Detroit Free Press, July 9, 2001