COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A new report from the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA) shows fewer teachers left their positions compared to last year.
According to CERRA, the numbers show there are small improvements, but there are still thousands of teachers leaving the classroom.
The report shows 6,650 teachers left their positions during or after the end of the 2018-19 school year. That number is down 9% compared to last school year. More than 7,340 teachers left their jobs in 2018.
State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said she is encouraged by the findings in the report.
"We have to continue this work,” she said. “We can't rest on our laurels. We have to show teachers we appreciate them and we listen to them."
CERRA said a decline in the number of retirements could be a major reason for this reduction.
Another important figure in the report is the number of teacher vacancies. CERRA said districts reported 555.5 vacant teaching positions at the start of the school year. There were 621 reported vacancies at the start of the 2018-19 school year.
"We still have too many,” Spearman said. “We went down by 11% that's really good news."
The South Carolina Education Association said they are pleased to see the state is retaining teachers.
"The numbers do look better than they did last year but they still are not good," SCEA President Sherry East said.
She said improvements to teacher pay, smaller class sizes, and less standardized testing are some of the things they would like to see addressed in 2020. If all that gets accomplished, she believes the numbers will improve in next year's report as well.
"It should be an eye-opener to everyone. Not just teachers, lawmakers, parents but everyone on where we stand when it comes to teacher vacancies in South Carolina," East said.
According to CERRA 40% of the teachers who left their positions left because of “personal reasons.”
You can read that full report below.