Brunswick County Schools Dealing With Mass Exodus of Teachers

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The Star News reports on a "mass exodus" of teachers leaving Brunswick County over the last year, many for $10,000 raises in South Carolina. Out of a total teacher population of 840, 181 left during the 2013-2014 school year, nearly a fifth of all teachers. From their article,

Brunswick County Schools are seeing a "mass exodus" of teachers, according to Mark Pasier, the school system's director of human resources. Out of approximately 840 teachers, Brunswick County has lost 181, or one in five, in the past school year. While districts expect to lose teachers over the summer due to retirements and resignations, and 82 of those who left Brunswick County did so over the summer, Brunswick County is losing teachers throughout the school year at a rate of 10 per month, Pasier said.

The majority of departing teachers are new to the profession, those with one to three years of experience. This is the highest teacher attrition rate Pasier has seen in his 17 years in the field, he said.

Teachers leave Brunswick County for a number of reasons, school board members were told. One is salary. A Brunswick County teacher can obtain a job in South Carolina and get an immediate $10,000-$12,000 raise. But a higher salary is only part of the reason for the teacher attrition. Mimicking a national trend, many Brunswick County teachers leave the profession because of the stress and anxiety the job engenders as they try to meet an ever-changing list of federal and state mandates. Also, instead of focusing on teaching and students, today's teachers must spend their time on data entry requirements or other non-teaching tasks, again to meet federal and state mandates.

The Brunswick County schools undertook a massive hiring effort and filled almost all vacant positions for the coming school year. While a handful of classes may begin the year with a substitute, most will have a teacher within a week or so, as administrative processes are completed.

But the high teacher turnover impacts schools in other ways. The schools have an ever-increasing need for beginning professional development training. Also, it takes time to incorporate new teachers into the system. The higher the number of teachers new to the county, the more time is needed for a team to coalesce. Finally, when a majority of new teachers are lost to a system, you lose a sense of energy that invigorates all educators, Pasier says.


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