COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- The school year is about to start in about a week but many schools in the state unfortunately will have several teacher vacancies when school opens.
According to recent data, hundreds of teachers will not be returning to their classrooms this year, creating additional obstacles teachers are already trying to overcome.
At the end of the 2017-2018 school 5300 teachers didn’t return to classrooms in South Carolina the following school year.
Dr. Jennifer Garrett, the Coordinator of Research and Program Development for the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement, broke those numbers down even more.
“At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year even weeks after school had started districts reported 620 vacancies.”
These vacancies create problems in the classrooms.
Lisa Ellis, with SCforED and school teacher, explained the impact of not having enough teachers for students.
“What that leads to is higher class sizes which negatively impacts the students. It’s no longer the teacher standing up lecturing to 20-25 kids, it’s the teacher spending time differentiating the lessons to meet the needs of the different learners in their classrooms.”
Some districts in the state don’t have issues retaining and recruiting teachers while others face obstacles in attracting educators. Districts in the Upstate fare better with keeping educators and attracting new ones.
“This issue is tied into larger economic issues for local areas that have lost mills, factories and other types of jobs to overseas and automation,” said Todd Scholl with CERRA.
South Carolina lawmakers have been working on a comprehensive bill to address problems with the state’s education system . The legislation necessary in moving the state forward.
Dr. Garrett added, “We can’t recruit ourselves out of this as a state we have to focus on the ones that are in the classrooms, that’s in the trenches.”
South Carolina lawmakers included money in the budget to raise teacher salaries; however, legislation hasn’t been passed legislation to reform education.