Topic: Teacher Shortages


Teacher Workforce Shortages

Every student deserves a great teacher — but teacher shortages hurt education and the economy. Teachers are one of the most influential factors in a child’s learning. And collectively, the teacher workforce helps to prepare workers for all other industries. 

But across the Southeast, teacher shortages harm student learning, deepen inequities, compound the challenges teachers face, and cause economic disadvantages.

Data about teacher preparation, turnover, and vacancies that point to a teacher shortage problem


To elevate the profession and address teacher shortages, states should:

1. Understand the data. Data is a valuable tool to help inform both policy and practice. Regional and state data can paint a picture of teacher workforce strengths, challenges, and trends.

2. Design a comprehensive blueprint. When renovating teacher workforce policies, consider the big picture rather than individual pieces in isolation. Design policies for preparation & pathways, licensure, professional support, and compensation together as an interlocking system.

3. Ensure policies support each stage of a teacher’s career. Aligning policies from preparation through classroom teaching and leadership opportunities can help make teaching a more attractive and sustainable profession.

Publication May 2024
Since the pandemic, Teacher vacancies rose, Teacher retention declined,  Applicants decreased

Teacher Labor Market Trends
Insights From Two Southern States

Teacher shortages, high turnover rates and declining interest in the teaching profession have proven difficult for policymakers to address. These concerns are even more dire in Southern states. 

Partnering with researchers at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education, SREB studied data in Kentucky and Tennessee on teacher labor market trends over the last decade. This online report features seven findings with interactive charts.  

Publication October 2023 | 12 pages
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Recruiting the Next Generation of Teachers: Challenges and Innovations

Crafting programs and policies that address the teacher workforce requires knowledge of Gen Z, their interest in entering the teaching profession, and how to support them as new teachers. In this brief, the research team reviewed the literature on Gen Z’s background, interest in teaching as a profession, and what states and districts are doing to try and recruit them.


Blog post Megan Boren | SREB Project Manager

Let’s give our teachers what any employee needs to be successful

Total Teacher Preparation Program Completions in the SREB Region We have a public-school teacher vacancy and turnover problem — more are leaving than coming in. In 2021, turnover equated to a loss of over 152,000 teachers from their positions in the SREB region. Yet we only prepared shy of 58,000 new teachers (traditional and alternative prep combined).  


Building a First-Rate Teacher Workforce
Four Fundamentals of Attracting and Retaining Great Teachers — Starting with Data

An elementary school student and their teacher sitting at a table next to each other in the library smiling.Districts and schools are having to rely on a “warm body” approach to address teacher shortages, focusing on filling numerical vacancies over teacher qualification or preparedness. But taking a closer look at four fundamental areas of data can help make efforts to solve shortages more effective and longer-lasting.

Publication April 2022 | 16 pages
report cover

A Blueprint to Solve Teacher Shortages

Imagine a world where more great people enter teaching, stay in the profession, and get better and better. How do we achieve this?

This report offers insight on how to elevate the profession by renovating policies that affect the teacher workforce. With lessons from SREB states that have forged comprehensive plans, it covers pathways and preparation, licensing, mentoring and support, and compensation structures. The report also includes data on shortages, what causes them and how they hurt our economy.


Blog post By Megan Boren and Kim Anderson

Meeting Workforce Demand Won’t Happen With Teacher and Faculty Shortages
States aren’t connecting all the dots between education and workforce development, and it's hurting our economy.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know we’re experiencing record worker shortages in certain careers.

SREB has analyzed data on the economy, labor markets and education, and asked: In what ways is our economy tied to the success of our schools and colleges? How can we improve our economic future through education?

Blog post By Alan Richard, SREB News


What do we know about teacher shortages in each state and across the country? How severe are they? What has caused the shortages — and how can leaders help solve them?

SREB joined leaders from EducationCounsel, FutureEd at Georgetown University, and state and local school systems for an online event Nov. 8 to answer these important questions. (See the video of the event at the end of this story.)

Blog post Alan Richard, SREB News Manager

Impact of teacher shortages in most states far-reaching

When students don’t have good teachers, it can affect their cognitive growth — and over time can result in measurable economic loss.

Teacher shortages, therefore, are the type of crisis that “can put an entire society at risk,” said Nicole Smith, the chief economist and research professor at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Blog post Megan Boren, Program Specialist, SREB

COVID-19 Effects on the Teacher Workforce

In April, my mom called me with the news that my high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Metcalfe, who was rounding out his 42nd year of teaching, had died from COVID-19. I knew him from class, of course, but I also went to school with his son for 13 years and his family attended my grandparent’s church.

He was respected, loved and honored for his excellent teaching. His funeral was an all-day parade of cars through the high school parking lot, where community members waved and shouted condolences to his family. My mom said the cars stretched down the street for miles.

Blog post Megan Boren

A Long-Term Solution to Teacher Shortages
Finding the Root of the Problem

We’ve all heard the saying “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” When it comes to state policies affecting the teacher workforce, it’s important to see both.  

Teachers make life-long impressions on thousands of students — over 3,000 in an average career — and help raise every generation to understand the world and become productive, well-rounded citizens.