Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should inform district hiring needs with key teacher supply and demand data and make teacher mobility data publicly available at the district level. This goal was reorganized in 2021.
Teacher Supply and Demand Data: South Carolina publishes an annual Educator Supply and Demand Report, which identifies subject areas where there are shortages, as well as state-level data on the number of new hires by certification. The total number of teachers prepared at South Carolina state institutions is included, but it is not provided by certification area or institution, making it incomplete teacher production data. No connection is made between teacher production data and district-level hiring statistics; consequently, this report provides an incomplete analysis of teacher production in South Carolina.
Teacher Mobility Data: South Carolina's school report cards report the percentage of teachers returning from previous years and an average three-year percentage of returning teachers. South Carolina's Educator Supply and Demand Report contains state-level data on teacher attrition as well as reasons given for leaving the profession. The report also provides data on the number of teachers who left a position for a teaching position in another South Carolina school district, charter school, or special school.
Annual Educator Supply and Demand Report (2019) https://www.cerra.org/uploads/1/7/6/8/17684955/2019-20_supply_demand_report.pdf School Report Cards https://screportcards.ed.sc.gov/
Publish data that connect program supply data to district-level demand data.
Teacher preparation programs graduate more candidates each year than actually earn certification, and only some of those certified are ultimately hired to teach in the state. It is certainly desirable to produce a large enough pool to provide districts a choice in hiring, but a substantial oversupply of teacher candidates in some teaching areas serves neither the profession nor the students well. South Carolina should strive to collect a rich set of data that can inform policy decisions, including graduates by certification, ethnicity, and gender, as well as new hire information by district broken down by these levels. These data can then be used to determine, when connected with teacher program data, teacher shortage and surplus areas.
South Carolina did not respond to NCTQ's request to review this analysis for accuracy.
1B: Teacher Shortages and Surpluses
It is an inefficient use of resources for individual districts to build their own data systems for tracking teachers. States need to take the lead and provide districts with state-level data that can be used not only for the purpose of measuring teacher effectiveness, but also to gauge the supply and demand of teachers in the state. Furthermore, multiple years of data are necessary to identify staffing trends.
Many preparation programs graduate people who are certified to teach but do not get jobs in the classroom. Often times, this is because these teachers pursue certifications in areas that already have a surplus of teachers (e.g., elementary education), while districts struggle to find applicants to hire in other areas (e.g., special education, science). Given this misalignment between the teachers that teacher preparation programs produce and the hiring needs of school districts, the state should step in to establish a cohesive data reporting system. By creating reports that publicly delineate the number of teachers produced by each teacher preparation program (and therefore by certification area), the state will be better able to identify instances where the production of teachers does not match districts' needs.
Furthermore, the state should consider whether teacher preparation programs are supplying districts with the teachers they need when approving or re-approving programs. Teacher preparation programs exist primarily to prepare teachers for public school positions (approximately 88 percent of teachers work in public schools). If teacher preparation programs produce far more teachers than the state needs in some certification areas and far too few in others, the programs are failing to meeting their state's demand. Moreover, student teaching placements (which tend to be near candidates' teacher prep programs) are highly predictive of where candidates will get their first teaching jobs, therefore also allowing states the ability to predict which open positions are likely to be filled. Given that the preparation program's function is to supply the nearby area (and more generally, the state) with public school teachers, it is incumbent upon the state to make sure the program fulfills that responsibility, particularly through the collection and application of data on teacher production numbers and district demand.
Additional elements are needed to use data to assess teacher supply and demand. For example, states should include in their data systems means of tracking when teachers leave schools or districts, as well as when they re-enter new ones, and should make these data publicly available. These data can support the state's effort to build a cohesive picture of the state's teacher labor market and workforce needs.