FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — A newly-released survey from education group SC for Ed says many teachers and school staff want to leave the education profession.

Of the over 2,000 staffers surveyed, 22 percent responded that they plan to leave the occupation.

The survey- coined SC for Ed’s ‘Temperature Check #2’ takes a look at the ‘potentially catastrophic teacher retention crisis’ that’s facing school districts in the Palmetto State.

The survey found that 56 percent of respondents plan to continue in their current positions beyond this school year. Meanwhile, 39 percent plan not to return. That’s a big jump from the 27 percent that responded way during SC for Ed’s first ‘Temperature Check’ just about two months ago.

This latest survey finds that pay remains a big issue for educators– and a major reason why many want to leave. Adding additional steps to the salary schedule was the top first choice among options given for retaining educators. Salary increases were the second most common first choice, according to SC for Ed.

“Teachers are like anyone who has a a job right now, grateful to have a job,” Director of Research at SC for Ed Steve Nuzum said. “But the time is really a bad for a year when we cut a salary step increase… It’s just really bad timing to say we need you to go back into a job that’s more stressful and dangerous than ever before and at the same time we’re going to give you a cut.”

The group says a lot of the burden of fixing the retention problem falls on the individual districts.

Nuzum suggested that districts dip into surplus funds to make up for the gaps in salary. He said there are ways districts can improve retention without spending money as well.

The survey says data suggests many teachers feel micromanaged by their districts and the state.

“If you don’t have the money to spend, find a way to make teachers feel more valued without paying them more,” Nuzum said. “Because those things like professional autonomy are free. And if we’re not doing those things there’s really no excuse.”

View the full report below.

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