Organizers of the “Teach 313” initiative have one main goal: to make Detroit the best city in America for teachers.
Through a public-private partnership with the Skillman Foundation and Detroit Children’s Fund, the launch of the Teach 313 campaign was announced Thursday morning at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center and is a local and national campaign to recruit early childhood through 12th-grade teachers to Detroit. Teach 313 is designed to combat the difficulties many schools in the city have recruiting teachers, by offering incentives from corporate partners, including General Motors and Quicken Loans, to assist them in achieving a better quality of life.
The shortage of teachers in the Detroit Public School Community District (DPSCD) over the years have been well-documented. But charters schools in the city have run into the same issue. The incentives will help attract and retain exceptional teachers to Detroit, ensuring every child in the city is receiving the quality education they deserve.
“The future of Detroit and the future of Detroit’s children are inextricably intertwined,” said Tonya Allen, president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation. “As our city works to become a place of prosperity for all families, there is no more important role to achieving our future and preparing our young children to succeed in school, than our teachers. They define the character, caliber, and the future of our communities.”
The campaign’s goal is to improve the quality of education in Detroit through recruitment, the quality of life, and professional development to combat teacher attrition of nearly 30 percent each year in Detroit schools. Over 14 percent of teachers moved to schools outside of Detroit and over four percent of teachers left teaching in Detroit, or the profession altogether.
Teach 313 is targeted at teachers from across the city, in the DPSCD and teachers in charter schools in the city.
“I think it is great that the Skillman Foundation and the Detroit Children’s Fund have taken on this initiative,” said Mayor Mike Duggan at Thursday’s press conference. “We need to progress from talking about filling teacher jobs in the city, to recruiting quality teachers and having a quality teacher in every classroom. We need to treat the teachers that we do have now with respect and to retain the quality teachers in our schools.
“We know that teachers in this country are not paid what they’re worth and what this group has done was come up with a way to not only support our teachers here in Detroit with moral support, but also with financial support.”
As part of its recruiting efforts, Teach 313 has engaged organizations including the Service Year Alliance and AmeriCorps Alums (which include over 1 million alumni), the top 25 teacher-producing colleges and universities, and top 20 historically black colleges and universities across the country.
Suki Johal-Hunt has been teaching at Detroit University Prep for 12 years and was in attendance for the announcement with a number of other Teacher 313 Education Ambassadors from around the city. She believes Teach 313 will be beneficial for both teachers and students in Detroit.
“Detroit deserves good teachers,” said the Toronto native who moved to the city in 2003. “Our kids deserve a good education that allows their voices to be heard in the world and to be world-changers. We have a serious teacher vacancy in the city and our kids are worthy of a great education. In order for them to do that, they need the tools and Teach 313 is designed to assist everyone.”
GM is offering two incentives to help attract and retain top educators and administrators in Detroit. Its Educator Discount can be combined with current offers for additional savings and combined can equal hundreds or thousands of dollars off the price of a new lease or purchase. It is open to all current educators, administrators, faculty, and support staff who work at any public or private school, university or college in the city.
A second incentive, the OnStar Safety and Security Package, is open to new Detroit teachers and administrators who work at a public or private school in the city of Detroit, free for two years. The subscription is valued at $25 per month. Services include automatic crash response, roadside assistance, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation. The offer can be activated on any OnStar-equipped vehicle, model year 2011 or newer and is available on some 2009-2010 models, as well.
Quicken Loans is offering Detroit teachers who purchase or refinance a home with them mortgage savings including: a $1,000 closing cost credit, $500 back after closing and up to $750 cash back for those who buy or sell their home with its preferred real estate partner, In-House Realty. It is also offering other services, including personalized mortgage review; online tools and mobile apps and educational webinars.
Last year, the city began offering an incentive that allows teachers and other school employees to receive a 50% discount on homes purchased through the Detroit Land Bank, Duggan pointed out at the press conference.
“We know that for kids to get a great education, they must have great teachers. That’s why we are committed to attracting the best and brightest educators while simultaneously supporting the talented teachers currently working in Detroit,” said Bill Emerson, Vice Chairman of Quicken Loans. We also understand that a strong sense of community is critical for both teachers and students. That starts with a place to call home, which is why we are so excited to offer educators significant discounts on their home financing.”