Kailee Felix

Where Have all the Teachers Gone?

March 13, 2017

Kailee Felix

A growing teacher shortage, particularly in some of South Carolina’s more rural areas, is leading some school districts to take new measures to attract and retain qualified teachers.

In January, the Post and Courier reported on high teacher turnover around the state and the resulting recruitment efforts school districts are utilizing to fill vacancies.

Nearly 6,500 teachers did not return to their current jobs for the 2016-17 school year, a 21% increase from the year prior. The reason behind this high turnover rate? Most teachers cited taking positions within the state at schools in other districts.

School districts around South Carolina have responded with innovative incentives to attract teachers.

For example, the Charleston County School District will offer a starting salary bump of nearly $5,000 this year for qualified teachers coming to work at one of 12 ‘Top Talent’ schools, which have suffered from recurring teacher shortages. And in Cherokee County, the school board hopes a generous $10,000 signing bonus will attract teachers to the county.

The Post and Courier furthered the discussion only two days later, focusing on the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA) in their article, SC Searches for Teachers.

The article reports:ezgif-2-24df33cee9

“It’s not a new problem…Clearly, the answers are not easy. But it’s just as clear that the state has no alternative but to find a way to reverse that trend. South Carolina’s children deserve the opportunity to receive a good education. The state’s economy depends on preparing students to be productive workers. And the S.C. Supreme Court has said it must.”

While uplifting the teaching profession–as Superintendent Molly Spearman recommends–is important, there is more the state can do right now to address the teacher shortage.

At Palmetto Promise we believe one part of the solution should be Online Course Access. Whether used for college preparatory or AP classes, Online Course Assess would offer a wide variety of courses that may not otherwise be offered in schools.

The upshot? Students would be able to take courses from the best teachers in the state, even if that teacher is three school districts away.

Enabling students to choose whether they take the course online, face-to-face, or a blend of both, Online Course Assess is a solution that can allow the students of South Carolina to get the education they deserve and begin to solve the teacher shortage that the Post and Courier are rightly reporting on.