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CCSD Addresses Teacher Vacancies, Now Should Focus On Substitutes
Published:
9/21/2016 3:08:07 PM


 
By Barney Blakeney


In previous years, the Charleston County School District was overwhelmed with hundreds of teacher vacancies. The 2004-2005 school year ended with more than 350 teacher vacancies. Last week CCSD officials said only 27 teacher vacancies remain. Nine schools don’t have permanent principals. But while the number of vacancies aren’t overwhelming, at least two county school board members still have concerns.

Both Rev. Chris Collins and Michael Miller are seeking re-election to the board in November - Miller is seeking a second term on the board, Collins is seeking a third. Both are concerned about the role teachers and administrators play in the delivery of quality education. And when you’re talking about substitute teachers and administrators, those positions have a more acute impact at predominantly black schools, they say.

In the district where about half the students are black and only about 15 percent of teachers and administrators are black the numbers of teacher and administrative positions that are vacant belie underlying issues. Both Collins and Miller said more important than teacher vacancies at the start of the year are the number of teachers who at times during the school year will be replaced by substitute teachers.

According to Collins, the district has available more than 700 substitute teachers to substitute at any of its schools depending on the needs of the individual school. Collins said those subs are paid a minimum $8 per hour and must have at least a high school diploma. Substitutes with more education are paid a little more. Collins said his concern is that substitutes can serve in a classroom a few days or several months. In some cases minimally qualified substitutes have served months in classes they are unqualified to teach, he said.

Miller said now that the district seems to have overcome its challenges filling vacancies, it now must address the issue represented by substitutes.

“What we want is highly qualified teachers in every classroom. We have to ask how does it hurt when a student gets a substitute teacher making $8 per hour? The answer is it hurts tremendously. We want our students to win and winning starts in the classroom.

The ultimate goal is success. If we’re not successful, students suffer,” he said.

Miller said the role of permanent principals at schools also is crucial. Principals set the culture at schools. “How does an interim principal do that?”, he asked.

Currently Moultrie Middle, Morningside Middle, James Island Elementary, Daniel Jenkins, Burns Elementary, Oakland Elementary and James Island Middle, Burke High and North Charleston High schools have interim principals.
 

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