GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Leaders with the Michigan Education Association want to hear from the teachers currently working as they try to deal with a teachers shortage.

They launched the “Michigan Educator Project,” where they talk to teachers and other educators about why not enough people are getting into the profession.

News 8 spoke with Doug Pratt with the MEA about the shortage and what’s being done.

“We’ve had an educator shortage for quite a while,” Pratt said. “What we’ve seen in the pandemic is it’s getting much worse.”

He said retirements and burnouts are going up as the pandemic mixes with a historic lack of respect and compensation for teachers.

The Michigan Educator Project’s goal is to learn more about what is driving that shortage.

“The best way of learning about the educator shortage is to hear firsthand from educators.” Pratt said. “(The Michigan Educator Project) was created so we could hear from educators on the front lines about the things that are going on that are driving the shortage.”

He said there are three things to keep people in the profession: “Recruit, respect, retain.”

“All those things are tied together. Educators are dedicated to their students. They should be able to make a good middle class living, to raise a family,” he said. “But at the same time, what really drives them is that light bulb going off for a student, it’s making the relationships with the students that they serve. That’s valuable.”

Learn more at