Public forum takes on K-12 teacher shortage crisis
CHARLESTON, S.C.—The Zucker Family School of Education at The Citadel is inviting collaboration aimed at tackling South Carolina’s teacher shortage crisis at a public educational leadership and innovation forum this month. The Education Workforce: Crisis of Shortages, Promises of Excellence, will address the educator shortage issue apparent in the high numbers of unfilled teaching positions in the state.
The forum will take place 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, at the Francis Marion Hotel located at 387 King St. Education professionals, lawmakers, business leaders, parents and community members interested in taking part in solving the teacher shortage issue are encouraged to attend. The forum will feature panel presentations, breakout sessions, table discussions, and culminate in idea generation for implementation. The goal of this forum is to develop strategies to submit to the South Carolina General Assembly, Department of Education and other policy influencers.
“Charleston County School District, like many districts in South Carolina and across the nation, is experiencing impacts from the teacher shortage crisis as we begin the 2017-18 school year,” said William Briggman, chief human resources officer for Charleston County School District. “During peak hiring season, we saw fewer candidates as compared to previous years. As a result, we are turning to alternative route certification programs—professionals with experience in their fields who become teachers, entering the classroom without the benefit of a teaching degree. Although a traditional route through a university or college tends to offer the best preparation for new teachers, it is inevitable that school districts across the nation are becoming more dependent on these programs to meet the teacher shortage need.”
According to Briggman, math, science and Spanish teaching positions are currently the most difficult to fill.
The keynote speaker will be Kelly Kovacic, Ed.L.D, director of regional educator initiatives at the Dallas-Fort Worth Commit! Project. Commit! is a Texas program that addresses teacher recruitment and retention. Also scheduled to deliver remarks are South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, Representative Joseph Jefferson of South Carolina House of Representatives District 102, and Citadel Provost and Dean of the College Connie L. Book, Ph.D.
Forum panels will focus on helping participants understand the teacher shortage and the need to bolster the pipeline leading people to become teachers. Currently, the teacher education programs in South Carolina produce only about half of the needed teachers for the state. Panelists will include educators, concerned citizens, and others with an interest in addressing the educator shortage in effective ways. Panel topics include a discussion on the national trends of educator shortages and prerequisites for school districts to have in place to attract top talent teachers.
Additionally, the deans of education from Benedict College, Clemson University, College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina will also participate in a panel on innovative programs and strategies for recruiting and retaining quality educators.
Speakers presenting on panels and in breakout sessions include Roy Jones, Ph.D., director of the Call Me M.I.S.T.E.R. program at Clemson University; and Carolyn Stone, Ph.D., professor of school counseling at the University of North Florida.