Document Type


Publication Date



Arkansas, education, teachers, salary, LEARNS Act


  • The LEARNS Act:
    • Increased the state’s minimum teacher salary from $36,000 to $50,000,
    • Guaranteed all teachers a minimum raise of $2,000, and
    • Removed the minimum teacher salary schedule and relaxed other salary schedule requirements in state law.
  • Before LEARNS, starting teacher salaries in almost all school districts were below the new minimum salary of $50,000.
  • The average entry-level teacher salary for those holding a bachelor’s degree was about $38,000, with 39% of districts paying the pre-LEARNS minimum salary of $36,000.
  • Starting teacher salaries under LEARNS are now more equally distributed, with minimal variation across districts.
  • This school year, 97% of districts pay beginning teachers with bachelor’s degrees the new minimum of $50,000.
  • LEARNS significantly reduced the negative and significant association between starting teacher salaries and higher rates of district poverty.
  • However, more differentiation in pay across districts reappears as teachers gain experience, and it remains advantageous to work in more urban districts that continue to offer higher salaries to their experienced teachers.
  • Because experience is a predictor of teacher quality, this could have future implications for the equitable distribution of quality teachers across the state.
  • The LEARNS Act also provides substantially more funding to rural and higher-poverty districts.
  • Although LEARNS made some positive improvements to teacher salaries, other incentive programs and grow-your-own initiatives will likely still be needed to recruit and retain high-quality teachers in rural and high-poverty districts.

Series Title

EDRE Research Brief

Series Number