Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education Policy (PhD)

Degree Level



Education Reform


Gary Ritter

Committee Member

Patrick Wolf

Second Committee Member

Robert Maranto


Teacher Labor Market, Teacher Shortage, Teacher Supply and Demand


There have been widespread reports of an impending teacher shortage crisis in the U.S. for more than 30 years. In the U.S., there are claims of a widespread national shortage while research indicates teacher shortages are specific to certain subjects and schools. Part of the reason for the conflicting accounts is how shortage is identified and what information is used to assess it. In this study, I test whether a uniform teacher shortage exists across the state of Arkansas. I hypothesize that, rather than a universal shortage, teacher shortages are more likely to occur in certain regions and subjects. I examine the characteristics of districts with the most favorable teaching supply and those with the greatest teaching need using descriptive and multivariate analysis of data collected from district surveys along with administrative data. In this study, “supply” is defined as the ratio of applications to vacancies and “need” is defined as the ratio of vacancies to full-time equivalent (FTE) certified classroom teachers. This is the third study to use applicants to identify teacher supply, and the first to assess teacher need or shortages in this way. Results indicate teacher supply and need are unequally distributed across the state; there is no uniform teacher shortage statewide. Regarding teacher supply, I find district size, region, and urbanicity appear to drive supply. Teacher supply is most favorable for large districts with student enrollments greater than 3,500, districts in the Northwest, and suburban and city districts. Regarding teacher need, I find urbanicity and region contribute most to need and the need appears greatest for districts in cities, and districts in the Central and Southeast regions. Teacher need does not appear to be significantly influenced by district educational success, teacher salary, or district growth. Looking at the relationship between teacher supply and need, I find three clear relationships. In the Central and Southeast regions, there is lower teacher supply and greater teacher need. In urban districts, there is both greater teacher supply and need. In higher poverty districts, there is significantly less teacher supply and more teacher need.