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Teacher survey finds need

Posted: January 21, 2014 - 3:41pm

There aren’t enough teachers in South Carolina, but the situation hasn’t gotten any worse lately.

That’s one finding from a new report about the state of the workforce.

South Carolina’s public school districts and special schools completed a survey about teacher and administrator positions, hires, vacancies and departures as part of an annual report by the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement. The organization posts reports dating back to 2001.

The number of vacancies and newly hired teachers have shown little change in two years, according to the report.

An average of 5,200 public school teachers leave the classroom each year, including 1,200 who retire from the field. The number of teachers leaving annually is more than 10 percent of the workforce.

In addition, 30 percent of teachers exit in the first five years of their career and 11 percent leave after one year or less. CERRA said high turnover rates hurt student learning and cost extra for districts that must recruit, hire and induct new teachers more frequently.

“These findings clearly address the need to support and maintain strong recruitment and retention efforts across the state, to include providing consistent, tailored support for beginning teachers,” notes Jane Turner, executive director of CERRA.

The report pointed to an “unexpected demand for teachers with early childhood or elementary certification,” and said that may be linked to current discussions about expanding early childhood programs in public schools.

Then, some jobs are tougher to fill than others.

“Year after year, districts have difficulty filling vacant teacher positions in the same subject areas: special education (across all school levels), and mathematics and sciences in both middle and high schools,” the report states.

The three categories have made up 34 to 46 percent of all statewide teacher vacancies in the last three years, according to the report.

To read the report, visit: www.cerra.org/research/supplyanddemand/overview.aspx

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