Policy Problem Teacher Shortage in South Carolina Essay

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Policy Problem: Teacher Shortage in South Carolina

As noted by Pederson (2017), South Carolina continues to experience a severe shortage of teachers. Although improving the quality of teachers has long been a federal initiative, and one of the goals of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and other federal policies has been to increase accountability for educators, South Carolina’s challenge has often been to simply recruit teachers to fill needed openings (Pedersen 2017). As noted by Pedersen (2017), higher salaries have often been touted as the solution to increase interest in becoming an educator, as well as relaxed requirements to enter the profession. Retention, however, is also an issue, and the state has been faulted for having insufficient mentorship and support for new teachers. There are also concerns that relaxed requirements will dilute the quality of teacher performance. But South Carolina is not alone in experiencing a shortage. Since 2006, Florida has seen sharply declining enrollment in teacher education programs and increased enrollment by students (Postal 2017). The state has resorted to advertising for educators using billboards, encouraging students to consider a career in education (Postal 2017). Even the small state of Rhode Island is struggling with a teacher shortage, but in this instance, the problem is a shortage of ELL (English Language Learner) instructors, versus teachers in general. In 2017, it was reported that the ELL population had doubled to as much as 24% in Providence, a particularly striking figure in the state’s capital city, given the size of the state (Espinoza 2017).

In Rhode Island, there have been specific attempts to offer financial help to students wishing to obtain certification in teaching ELL students, given that the additional education requires both time and money (Espinoza 2017). But all three states have been struggling with the problems of recruitment, given limited state budgets and concerns that lowering the barriers to entry for the profession, such as alternative certification, will ultimately damage the quality of education in each respective state (Pedersen 2017).


Espinoza, A (2017). Providence schools face a shortage of teachers for English language learners. WNPR. Retrieved from: http://wnpr.org/post/providence-schools-face-shortage- teachers-english-language-learners

Pedersen, J. (2017). We can’t recruit ourselves out of our teacher shortage. The State. Retrieved from: http://www.thestate.com/opinion/op-ed/article182241591.html#storylink=cpy

Postal, L. (2017). Florida school districts wrestle with teacher shortage. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved from: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/school-zone/os- florida-schools-teacher-shortages-universities-20170203-story.html


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