Statewide, districts reported a 33% increase in the number of vacant teaching positions compared to last year and a 66% increase compared to the 2013-14 school year. Many South Carolina districts continue to have difficulty filling vacancies in special education at all school levels and mathematics and sciences in middle and high schools. This year, more vacancies occurred in social studies and English as well. Additionally, districts are citing a growing number of vacancies in primary and/or elementary schools.
Some districts, regardless of certification area, struggle to hire and retain teachers due to their geographic location in the state. Twenty of these districts with excessive teacher turnover will be targeted through the Rural Teacher Recruiting Incentive. One possible incentive is tuition reimbursement for certain certified teachers to either add on a critical need subject area or pursue graduate coursework in understanding children in poverty. Teachers who add on a critical need subject area will help address the ongoing challenges to fill vacancies in these areas. Teachers who pursue graduate coursework in poverty will learn tools and strategies to more effectively relate to and provide instruction to their students, resulting in a greater degree of job satisfaction and a higher rate of retention.
“South Carolina is moving in the right direction with these initiatives to recruit teachers into underserved schools,” notes Jane Turner, Executive Director of CERRA. “As evidenced by the supply and demand numbers, however, there is still work to do to ensure that public school districts do not face the consequences of a statewide teacher shortage.”
Editor’s Note: The 2015 Supply and Demand Report can be accessed here. There you also will find archived reports dating back to 2001.