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.


Teacher Workforce Data

Teacher shortages hurt education and the economy. But to address these shortages, elevate the profession, and fuel the economy, a key first step is unpacking the data.

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 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.


Teacher Characteristics by State

Percentage of each state’s teachers with one or two years experience, with emergency or provisional certificate, who plan to leave the profession, and who are teachers of color.

  Inexperienced  Uncertified  Plan to Leave the
of Color
AL 9.1% 10.6% 12.3% 20%
AR 13.2% 2.3% 12% 7%
DE 12.8% 2.9% 12.8% 15%
FL 18.4% 2.9% 19.3% 35%
GA   9.1% 5% 12.9% 30%
KY 12.0% 0.6% 11.9% 7%
LA 16.1% 9.2% 13.9% 28%
MD 14.9% 3.3% 10.1% 29%
MS 11.5% 4.6%  13.5% 23%
NC   6.7% 11.9% 15.8% 23%
OK 11.9% 0.5% 16.5% 20%
SC 10.8% 1.2%  13% 21%
TN 11.8% 2.2% 14.5% 17%
TX 15.5% 2.4% 14.5% 40%
VA 10.8% 4% 12.7% 18%
WV 9.2% 2.5%  17.6%   3%
national average 11.7% 3.2% 12.3% 21%

Inexperienced: Defined as teachers with one or two years of experience.

Uncertified: Defined as those teachers practicing under an emergency or provisional certificate.

Plan to leave the profession: Defined as teachers planning to leave teaching as soon as possible or as soon as a more desirable job opportunity arises.

Teachers of color: Defined as all teachers except those who identify as non-Hispanic white.

Sources: National Center for Education Statistics’ Civil Rights Data Collection, Public-Use Data File 2017-18. Planning to leave the profession primary data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Public School Teacher File 2017, National Teacher and Principal Survey.