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VERIFY: Is there a teacher shortage in the Carolinas?

Data shows there is an increase in vacancies heading into next school year, 2021-2022

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Teacher shortages are an issue that ebbs and flows. However, over the last couple of school years, the issue has only stayed and increased. 

When life was flipped upside down, it posed many challenges for teachers to continue the work they love. Educators were forced to quickly learn how to teach virtually, form relationships with new students without ever having been in person with them, then they struggled in the priority line for vaccinations, and for many, they have now begun returning to the classroom but still operating differently. 

With health being a concern for the last year, many teachers began to question is the risk was worth the reward. 

As WCNC Charlotte highlights teacher appreciation all week, we are also focusing in on the struggles our local teachers and school districts are enduring. 

THE QUESTION

Is there is an ongoing teacher shortage in North Carolina and South Carolina?

THE ANSWER

Yes, our sources to verify this are the US Department of Education and South Carolina's Center for Educator Recruitment Retention and Advancement. 

CERRA is reporting in SC nearly 6,000 teachers were teaching in the spring when the pandemic started did not return to to their role in the same school district in the fall of 2020. That has now led way to 699 teacher vacancies across the Palmetto State, which is 26% worse than the numbers in the previous year. 

When looking into North Carolina's data, the US Department of Education recorded a teacher shortage as well. Not only this year, but for both the Carolinas a shortage is predicted for the 2021-2022 school year too. 

WCNC Charlotte sorted through the reports, and the following areas of need stuck out: 

In South Carolina grades K-12, teachers are needed for language, science, technology, math, art, music, physical education. and special education.

RELATED: Teachers struggling to manage stress of COVID-19 pandemic

In North Carolina, teachers for ALL subjects are needed at the elementary level, special education, and middle and high school math have vacancies.

Maybe you are wondering why such a significant shortage? In a previous story, WCNC Charlotte spoke with Winthrop University's Dean of Education about the ongoing issue. 

RELATED: North Carolina school districts are struggling to attract new teachers

The two big contributing factors appear to be pay and the pandemic, which is making it difficult to keep teachers and recruit new teachers. 

If you have a story idea for Rachel Lundberg, email her, or reach out on Facebook or Twitter.