Moving Up

Promising Strategies to Address Teacher Shortages in Arkansas

In 2021, TNTP published Missing Out: Arkansas’ Teacher Shortage and How to Fix It, describing teacher shortages in Arkansas, programs the state had in place to address them, and the extent to which teachers and potential teachers were aware of and interested in these programs.

To address these issues, TNTP made three recommendations:

  • Design a supportive pathway to standard licensure for paraprofessionals, long-term substitutes, and classroom aides. 
  • Raise the average teacher salary statewide, and provide districts whose average teacher salary falls below the target average with additional funding to help narrow their salary gap with nearby districts. 
  • Design a website that clearly illustrates the state’s pathways to teaching and related financial incentives. 

In recent years, Arkansas has launched initiatives aligned to each of these recommendations. Additionally, policymakers are taking steps to audit the state’s requirements for aspiring teachers to identify and remove barriers to the profession, while maintaining relevant and rigorous teacher licensure requirements. 

Together, these four areas of focus have positioned Arkansas as a national leader in teacher recruitment and retention strategies.


  1. Adjusting for the cost of living, Arkansas has the highest minimum teacher salary in the nation.
  2. Arkansas is one of four states to offer full-time public school teachers up to 12 weeks of paid maternity leave.
  3. Arkansas was one of the first eight states in the country to receive approval from the United States Department of Labor to operate a registered apprenticeship program for teachers.

Through its commitment to offering supportive licensure pathways designed to produce day one-ready teachers and developing a competitive financial value proposition for teachers, Arkansas has positioned itself as a state to learn from as policy makers across the nation work to strengthen the teacher workforce.

To learn more, download the report.

Additional Resources

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, stands in front of her students while introducing them to the captivating world of science

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, introduces her students to the captivating world of science.

About TNTP

TNTP is the nation’s leading research, policy, and consulting organization dedicated to transforming America’s public education system, so that every generation thrives.

Today, we work side-by-side with educators, system leaders, and communities across 39 states and over 6,000 districts nationwide to reach ambitious goals for student success.

Yet the possibilities we imagine push far beyond the walls of school and the education field alone. We are catalyzing a movement across sectors to create multiple pathways for young people to achieve academic, economic, and social mobility.

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