K-12 teacher shortage crisis

TCCC CEO John C. Read, second from left, spoke during a panel discussion about the S.C. teacher shortage.

An important discussion was held today on the teacher shortage crisis in South Carolina, and TCCC CEO John C. Read was honored to be a part of it.

The Zucker Family School of Education at The Citadel hosted a public educational leadership and innovation forum to discuss the high number of unfilled teaching positions in the state.

The number of teachers leaving their positions each year (6,500 in 2016) is significantly higher than the number of S.C. graduates of teacher programs available to fill them (1,700 in 2016). Enrollment in S.C. teacher training programs is declining on average by 4% per year.

Of the nearly 6,500 teachers who did not return to their positions:

  • 25% took a teaching position in another S.C. district or special school;
  • 23% percent left because of a personal choice;
  • 18% retired;
  • 12% moved out of the area;
  • 5% changed professions altogether;
  • 5% took a teaching position out of the state or country;
  • and 4% were terminated or their contracts/letters of agreement were not renewed.

Additionally, 38% of the 6,500 teachers who did not return had five or fewer years of classroom experience.

High teacher turnover creates a continuous state of rebuilding in schools, often diminishing the collaboration and cohesion needed to build a sense of community. In addition, the constant process of hiring and replacing teachers consumes an inordinate amount of districts’ capital – both human and financial.

Unless corrective action is taken, the failure to attract and retain great teachers will significantly compromise the education attainment of our children, the fiscal health of our communities and our collective capacity to attract new jobs and families to our state.

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