CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A new report shared with the North Carolina State Board of Education revealed that not only are thousands of teachers leaving classrooms in the state, but elementary schools are struggling the most to fill those empty spots.
According to the report, more than half of the 5,749 teachers that left said they're leaving the profession for personal reasons, including teaching in another state, family relocation and some are giving up teaching altogether.
At the start of last year, there were 79,314 certified teachers in North Carolina public schools. That number dropped by 7.25 percent by the end of the year. The attrition rate is even higher for teachers with less than three years of experience, with nearly 12 percent of those teachers giving up the profession.
Elementary schools across the state have been hit the hardest, with 604 core teacher vacancies compared to 300 core vacancies in middle schools. Core teachers in elementary and middle school are those who teach math, science, social students or English and language arts.
Administrators say it's hard to find qualified men and women to teach students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
This report comes weeks after it was revealed that South Carolina schools were forced to hire hundreds of international teachers as they deal with a spike in vacancies.
At the end of last year, 7,300 South Carolina teachers left their position. Of those, 73 percent are no longer teaching any public school in the Palmetto State and one-in-four first-year teachers is out of the profession entirely.