More South Carolina teachers leaving

The Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA) has released its South Carolina (SC) Annual Educator Supply and Demand Report. At the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, districts reported more teachers leaving, more vacancies, and more teachers hired to fill those vacancies compared to last year.

About 7,300 teachers did not return to their positions for the 2018-19 school year; this is an increase of nearly 10 percent. Twenty-seven percent of these teachers reportedly went to teach in another SC public school district, leaving more than 5,300 teachers who are no longer teaching in any public school.

Thirty-five percent of the teachers who did not return to the same position in 2018-19 had five or fewer years of experience in a SC public school classroom. This percentage is slightly lower than the one reported last year (38 percent), most likely due to an increase in the number of retiring teachers with more than five years of experience. Furthermore, 13 percent who left had no more than one year of teaching experience in the state; 12 percent fell into this category last year.

Retired teachers represented 26 percent of all departures compared to 20 percent last year. Because of this increase and the fact that retirees have more years of classroom experience than non-retired teachers, they were taken out of consideration to establish more accurate departure rates. After excluding retirees, the rates increased: 48 percent of teachers who left their positions had five or fewer years of experience in a SC public school classroom, and 17 percent had no more than one year.

When first-year teachers were examined independently, it was determined that 34 percent of the first-year teachers hired for 2017-18 did not return to the same position in 2018-19; 25 percent are no longer teaching in any SC public school. These percentages are higher than those from last year, which were 30 percent and 22 percent, respectively.

The number of new hires who graduated from an in-state teacher preparation program increased for the first time since 2013-14, accounting for 24 percent of all new hires. The actual number of SC students completing a teacher education program, however, continues to decrease each year. Specifically, the number of completions has dropped by 32 percent since the 2012-13 academic year. As a result of a smaller teacher pipeline, districts are relying on other recruitment sources. For example, districts are hiring more teachers from other countries. This year, they hired nearly 400 international teachers; in 2013, roughly 100 were hired.

Additionally, districts reported 621 vacant teaching positions in SC public school classrooms. This number represents a 16 percent increase compared to vacancies reported at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. In addition to these vacancies are the 7,600 openings that were caused primarily by departures and filled with newly hired teachers prior to the start of the 2018-19 school year.

The SC Annual Educator Supply and Demand Report can be accessed on the CERRA website at

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