Abstract

abstract:

States have increasingly relied on financial policies to address teacher staffing challenges, particularly in high need areas. Case in point, South Carolina developed the Rural Recruitment Initiative (RRI) to provide funding for recruitment and retention efforts in rural and other underserved districts facing severe teacher staffing challenges. While strategic initiatives are necessary to improve rural educator staffing across the state, little is known about the program's use or efficacy. This mixed-method study employs a concurrent triangulation design to understand better how the RRI policy was implemented within districts vis-à-vis their existing HR strategies. It also explores the potential influence of RRI on teacher staffing outcomes for districts receiving funds. Our analysis indicates districts have opted to spend resources on recruitment in a reactive effort to fill vacancies, with minimal effort on retention. Fixed-effects regression results suggests that for the last five years (from 2010 to 2017), the state has been experiencing a growing annual teacher turnover rate and, while those districts that receive RRI funds appear to see less escalation, it currently remains insufficient to resolve their human capacity problems.

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