The Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA) has released its 2019-20 South Carolina (SC) Annual Educator Supply and Demand Report. The main purpose of this survey is to collect data on SC public school teachers entering the profession, those leaving their classrooms, and the number of vacant positions at the beginning of each school year. Approximately 6,650 teachers (in FTEs) left their position during or at the end of the 2018-19 school year. This is a 9% decrease compared to the number of teachers who left during or at the end of the 2017-18 school year. A significant decline in the number of retirements explains the majority of this reduction.
Thirty-six percent of all teachers who left in 2018-19 had five or fewer years of experience in a SC public school classroom, and 13% had only one year (or less) of SC teaching experience. The percentages reported last year were 35% and 13%, respectively. A closer look at first-year teachers revealed some improvement in classroom retention. Of the first-year teachers hired for the 2018-19 school year, 28% did not return to the same position in 2019-20. This percentage is down from 34% last year.
The proportion of newly hired teachers who are recent graduates of an in-state teacher preparation program remained steady, accounting for 23% of all new hires in 2019-20. The number of SC students who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and teacher certification eligibility during 2018-19 is up by 79 graduates from the previous academic year. This is the first annual increase since 2013-14.
Districts reported 555.5 teaching positions in SC public school classrooms that were still vacant at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. This number represents an 11% decrease compared to vacancies reported at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. Although the number is smaller, these vacancies are in addition to the 6,709 vacancies already filled by newly hired teachers prior to the beginning of the current school year. Most vacant positions, regardless of when they are filled in the school year, are caused by teacher departures.
CERRA has begun working with districts to better understand the reasons for teacher departures. In many cases, teachers do not provide a reason for leaving, or the district may not collect the information. Teachers often state “personal/family” reasons for leaving, which may be accurate at times, but not in all situations. It is likely that teachers can be less than candid with their reasons for leaving, especially if they are related to any type of job dissatisfaction.
The SC Annual Educator Supply and Demand Report can be accessed on the CERRA website at https://www.cerra.org/supply-and-demand.html.