Task force to tackle teacher shortage in Horry County, across state

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The number of college students who want to be teachers continues to decrease.

South Carolina State Education Superintendent Molly Spearman spoke to new teachers in Horry County Tuesday.

Horry County Schools specifically face two major problems – recruiting teachers and retaining teachers. The need for more educators, however, isn’t unique to the district.

“It is a nationwide problem,” says Horry County Schools Spokesperson Teal Britton.

School officials say the teacher shortage in our country is reaching a crisis level.

Horry County did hire slightly more teachers this year, 275 compared to the average of 250, but the problem still persists.

“We still have some vacancies in some positions that are very difficult sometimes to fill,” says Britton.

Those positions include math, science, and special education.

Spearman says not enough is being done to attract people to those fields.

“I don’t think we’ve done a really good job of communicating those programs and the resources out to folks who might be great teachers,” voices the state superintendent.

The shortage of educators and lack of communication in voicing the need for teachers is why Spearman is heading a new task force.

“The legislature has asked us to look at this problem and to come up with recommendations as to how we can encourage people to go into the teaching field and how we can keep them involved in teaching,” describes Spearman.

Britton wants the group to cater to high school and college age students to find out what inspires them.

“Looking at people who are in delicate phases of decision making,” describes Britton.

The latest numbers in South Carolina show nearly 20 percent of all new teachers left during or at the end of their first year.

The state’s new task force will meet for the first time Thursday and continue to meet throughout the fall. Spearman says it will give its official recommendations to the state legislature in January.