CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) — Teaching vacancies are reaching critical levels in Palmetto State this school year, according to a recent survey. To reverse the trend, teachers and advocates are calling on heads of state to develop incentives to attract more teachers and fill vacancies.
Teachers and advocates say the latest number of statewide teaching openings has South Carolina facing a crisis that some fear could worsen if state leaders don’t. do not act. A recent report from the Center for Educational Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA) shows more than 1,100 openings statewide.
Current and former teachers say the shortage is causing unnecessary stress and strain on the state’s education system.
“The burden of teachers leaving is more on those who stay,” one teacher told News 2. “A lot of people I know are considering leaving school this year when the school year ends.”
A survey of 74 of South Carolina’s 79 school districts last fall showed 1,063 openings, since October the number rose to 1,121 in February. 11 vacancies are here in the Charleston County School District.
“It will burn out our existing educators and it will turn this shortage into a self-replacing cycle of burnout leading to resignation leading to more burnout and more resignation,” said Patrick Kelly, director of government affairs, Palmetto State Teachers Association. .
According to CERRA, the teaching profession has lost 977 teachers this year. Kelly says reversing the shortage includes wage increases and incentives, things done by state lawmakers.
“So if we’re going to do more than just slow the exodus, we’re going to have to do more than just reform,” Kelly says. “We’re going to have to transform the teaching profession in South Carolina.”
A former Charleston County School District teacher says change is needed now as she says the number of teachers considering leaving is growing.
“I don’t think it’s going to be taken seriously until it affects everyone,” the teacher said.
The group says higher salaries and stronger incentives are needed to encourage more teachers to enter the profession, something they hope state leaders will take action on.