A large portion of South Carolina’s teachers will be eligible for retirement at the end of this year, but as a national report shows, those who leave the classroom may never return due to the current state of the economy and the industry’s budget. The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future just released a national report stating that there’s a tidal wave of teachers that are soon retiring. In South Carolina, the same holds true.
Winthrop University has a Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement, known as CERRA, which provides appropriate training for prospective teachers in the state. Mychal Frost is with CERRA and he says South Carolina is also riding the wave.
“There’s approximately 50,000 teachers in state, so that 8,600 teachers represents about 17 percent of the workforce that’s eligible to retire,” says Frost.
Out of that 17 percent, some may not retire due to the current state of the economy and what the future holds for these teachers. The study shows that these findings leave questions about the new roles for retiring teachers. Frost says he finds that in the past retired teachers would return back to the field of teaching after retirement. Now, he says, that may change.
“This year with the economy and districts being able to have the flexibility and not offer contracts until May 15, there’s a great deal of ambiguity still out there with what will happen and how districts will be affected with retired teachers either not retained or by their own choosing not to come back,” says Frost.
Because of the current budget, Frost says more teachers are staying in the classrooms because if they leave they may not be able to return.