Director: State must do more to keep teachers from leaving

South Carolina approves another alternative teacher program

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Education officials say stemming South Carolina's growing teacher shortage will require persuading teachers not to leave the profession.

More than 6,000 public school teachers didn't return to their classroom last year, while the number of college students graduating with an education degree shrunk to fewer than 1,900.

Jane Turner with the state's Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement says mentoring programs for new teachers is a key component of bridging that gap. She says districts statewide must do more to help first-year teachers transition from college to career.

Last school year, the center distributed about $6.9 million to 30 districts with the highest teacher turnover. About $800,000 of that went toward mentoring programs.

The biggest chunk of nearly $4.7 million funded salary stipends of up to $1,500 per teacher.

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