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Official Says Long Term Plan is Needed to Address Teacher Shortage

The President of the South Dakota Education Association says the state needs a long-term plan to deal with a teacher shortage. Mary McCorkle says this fall there were 31 school districts that were still looking for teachers when the school year began.

South Dakota Education Association President Mary McCorkle says about half of the teacher candidates who graduate from South Dakota schools leave the state. She says about another third of them leave the teaching profession within their first five years. And she says there’s a high number of teachers nearing retirement age. She says one of the main issues is teacher salaries. South Dakota ranks 51st in the nation. McCorkle says the state needs a long-term plan developed jointly by stakeholders.
 
“I don’t believe that the right way to tackle this issue is to say, ‘well it’s the responsibility of the Legislature, or it’s the responsibility of the Governor, or it’s the responsibility of the local school districts.’ Because we’re in this together,” McCorkle says. “And if we don’t, as stakeholders, figure out a plan, a long range plan, and work on it together, I believe it’s the students of South Dakota that pay the price.”
 
McCorkle says that plan could include a mentoring program and opportunities for continued professional development.