Public Policy Associates (PPA) has partnered with the Michigan Alliance for School Opportunity, formerly the Middle Cities Education Association, to conduct a rigorous study of Michigan’s education workforce. This project involves a highly qualified team of education researchers that includes colleagues from both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

The study will investigate education staffing challenges, including those for teachers, administrators, and education support professionals. The study seeks to understand the state of the education labor market, with a resulting report aiming to describe strategies for both short- and longer-term policy and practice reform and improvement. For more information about the project, click here.

Led by PPA’s Director for Education Policy, Daniel J. Quinn, Ph.D., and principal investigator Nathan Burroughs, Ph.D., the team comprises researchers Chris Torres, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan School of Education; Jacqueline Gardner, Ph.D., from the Office of K-12 Outreach at Michigan State University; and PPA senior research associate, Dirk Zuschlag, Ph.D.

“As a former teacher who remains closely connected to the profession, one thing is clear: adequate staffing remains a concern for educators. It is time to come together to identify solutions to long-running staffing problems as well as those that have been exacerbated by the pandemic,” says PPA’s Dan Quinn.

While staffing issues represent a long-running problem, the disruptions wrought by the pandemic appear to have intensified the problems. Michigan has initiated multiple responses, and more are being proposed. Section 27f of the current School Aid Act funds the study “to support an analysis and an accompanying report of this state’s education workforce[.]”

“Until we have better data on K-12 staffing, it’s going to be impossible to understand—much less solve—our current struggles with adequately staffing our schools,” says PPA’s Nathan Burroughs

If you have any questions about this research or about PPA’s work in education policy, please feel free to contact Dr. Quinn at or (202) 854-8077. The other researchers working on this project can also be contacted by email: Dr. Nathan Burroughs (, Dr. Chris Torres (, Dr. Dirk Zuschlag (, and Dr. Jacqueline Gardner (