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State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman Statement on 2021 Educator Supply and Demand Report

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Today, State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman released the following statement in response to the release of the 2021 Educator Supply and Demand Report by the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA). Additional information concerning Superintendent Spearman and the South Carolina Department of Education’s (SCDE) actions to address the state’s teacher shortage crisis are also noted. 

“There is no individual more crucial in ensuring South Carolina students have the academic instruction and support needed to rebound and accelerate their learning than a high-quality teacher in every classroom,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “This report is a stark reminder of the tremendous challenge our schools face in recruiting and retaining classroom educators and should serve as a wake-up call for decision makers at the state and local levels to act quickly to make certain that every child is served by an outstanding teacher and reaches their full potential.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Superintendent Spearman and the SCDE have strived to utilize authority provided by the General Assembly and the State Board of Education to create flexibilities and alleviate burdens in certification and evaluation. Specifics on these flexibilities can be found at the links below.

The SCDE is investing a portion of the agency’s set aside from the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund to grow proven educator recruitment and preparation programs including South Carolina Teaching Fellows Program, Call Me MISTER, and Teach.org. SCDE is ​also using federal funding to support school and district leaders to build expertise in best practices for recruiting, retaining, and developing high-quality teachers.

Prior to the start of the 2022 legislative session, the SCDE submitted a budget request that includes a $162 million increase in teacher salary for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. This amount includes an adjustment to step increases for years 1-5 on the state minimum salary schedule and a 2% across the board teacher pay increase. In addition to salary increases, the agency supports legislative actions frequently cited by educators as barriers entering and staying in the profession including:

  • Providing teachers with protected unencumbered planning time to dedicate to non-instructional tasks

  • Increasing the teacher supply supplement amount available to teachers

  • Funding the salary supplement for National Board Certified Teachers

  • Providing step increases through 28 years of service

  • Continuing to allow retired educators who return to covered employment in the K-12 public education system to be hired and earn up to $50,000 annually without impacting their monthly retirement allowance

The 2021 CERRA Educator Supply and Demand Report and previous annual reports can be found by visiting – https://www.cerra.org/supply-and-demand.html.

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