South Carolina Starting School Year with Teacher Shortage

COLUMBIA, S.C. –South Carolina will be starting the new school year with a teacher shortage. According to a study by the SC Center for Recruitment, Retention & Advancement, the state will be short 164 teachers.

“It’s a real serious problem all over the state, particularly out in the rural areas,” says state education superintendent Molly Spearman.

The study says while there are shortages in certain subjects or areas, there are surpluses in others. There are shortages in art, business/marketing/computer technology, math, sciences, social studies, special education, and Spanish, while there’s a surplus of 245 teachers in Early Childhood/Elementary and 120 in English/Language Arts. The biggest shortage is in special education, which is 116 short.

Spearman says one thing the state is doing is making it easier for people who don’t have teaching degrees to become teachers. “If someone is well qualified and would be an effective teacher, we want to get them in the classroom, so we’re reviewing all of those rules and regulations. We’re providing professional development through our PACE program, which is our alternative certification program. We have changed some of the requirements there to make it easier for folks with content degrees and experience to get into the classroom.”

She says she’ll also ask state lawmakers next year to raise teacher salaries, especially starting pay.

The University of South Carolina’s College of Education is also taking steps to address the fact that more teachers are leaving the profession each year than there are new teachers graduating from our universities.

Dr. Christine Christle, USC Assistant Professor, Special Education Programs, says, “We’re marketing to undergraduates who are getting their Bachelor’s in Education, or even those who are not who may be interested and then getting a master’s and entering the teaching field.”

She says the college is also streamlining its processes to allow students to get through the program faster. And since there’s a surplus of Early Childhood teachers, the college is trying to attract some of them to also work with young children with disabilities.

The CERRA study estimates that the shortage will get worse over the next decade. For example, it estimates in the 2027-28 school year there will be a shortage of 774 science teachers, 650 social studies teachers, and 511 special education teachers.

You can read the entire study at http://cerra.org/media/documents/2016/5/Teacher_Supply_Study_511161.pdf

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