MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — South Carolina education experts say teacher retention levels are in a crisis this year.
One teacher, Steve Nuzum, told News13 information shows teachers have been resigning from their positions. Nuzum volunteers for SC for Ed, an advocacy group for teachers.
“The biggest complaint other than funding was just the lack of autonomy and sort of respect for the profession,” Nuzum said.
Nuzum said the pandemic was also another reason teachers have resigned from their positions. “We all had to learn a lot of things. A lot of new ways of doing things and teachers felt like they sort of had to reinvent the wheel, often being treated like they needed to be micromanaged,” Nuzum said.
Nuzum added stress played a major factor. “Stress was really high and I think that exacerbated a lot of mental and physical health issues for teachers,” Nuzum said.
According to data provided by Horry County Schools (HCS), 77 teachers did not re-sign their contracts for the next school year. That’s more than double the year before.
Number of teachers who did not sign contracts in Horry County Schools:
2021 – 77
2020 – 33
2019 – 37
2018 – 30
2017 – 42
2016 – 29
(Source: Horry County Schools.)
A total of 64 teachers have resigned from their position and 13 have retired. HCS said more than 2,700 teachers re-signed their contracts for the 2021-2022 school year.
“With the budget for this upcoming school year, the board of education also included the full employee salary study program and so all employees will be seeing an increase including teachers in their salaries and so that is something that has been very important to retain and recruit personnel to Horry County schools,” Bourcier said.
“The stress level associated with the pandemic is really hard and I am sure that the pandemic itself has been hard for a lot of teachers too dealing with just the due normal of how we have to do school now. It’s been tough,” Nuzum said.
“The board of education did approve several additional certified teacher positions with funds to assist with academic loss,” said Lisa Bourcier, a spokesperson for the district. “We are excited to be able to add some additional reading, math intervention and additional instructional coaches to our team to assist teachers.”