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Volume 16 Issue 1


Teacher shortage, Arkansas


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, we test whether a uniform teacher shortage exists across the state of Arkansas. We hypothesize that, rather than a universal shortage, teacher shortages are more likely to occur in certain regions and subjects. We examine the characteristics of districts with the most favorable teaching supply 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. This is the third study to use application information to identify teacher supply, and the first to assess teacher supply in this way. Results indicate teacher supply is unequally distributed across the state. We 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.