Teacher Shortages: Trends, Projections, and What Experts Say

Young teachersTeacher shortages are widely reported across the United States. But is there more to the story? Research sheds light on the widely-debated questions of shortages, their causes, severity, and ways to respond. Our experts also weigh in on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on teacher shortages.


Briefs and Reports

Addressing Teacher Shortages with Differentiated Staffing Models

As the COVID-19 pandemic turns into a longer-term crisis with no end in sight, planning for the fall raises even more questions for teachers about school policies and their own futures. In this final installment of a series, Gretchen Weber discusses how the pandemic could be the force that finally drives us to permanent, much needed staffing solutions.

Why Retaining Deeply Experienced Teachers Is Critical During a Global Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic turns into a longer-term crisis with no end in sight, planning for the fall raises even more questions for teachers about school policies and their own futures. This is the first installment of a new series in which AIR experts discuss how to facilitate quality instruction in the midst of a pandemic, from attracting, preparing, and retaining teachers to providing them with professional learning opportunities.

Past and Projected Trends in Teacher Demand and Supply in Michigan

This study, conducted by REL Midwest, provides a systematic analysis of trends in teacher demand, supply, and shortages in Michigan between 2013/14 and 2017/18 and projects shortages and surpluses for 2018/19–2022/23.

Creating Coherence in the Teacher Shortage Debate: What Policymakers Should Know and Do

Remarkably little research details the nature of teacher shortages; this brief provides a roadmap for policy leaders to hold better informed dialogues on the nature of teacher shortages, and target interventions to rectify teacher shortages where they exist.

Massachusetts Study of Teacher Supply and Demand: Trends and Projections

Massachusetts has often encountered teacher shortages with regard to mathematics, science, English language learners, and special education teachers. AIR developed a comprehensive set of projections of teacher supply and demand in order to inform planning for future workforce needs.

Oklahoma Study of Educator Supply and Demand: Trends and Projections

In Oklahoma, the teacher shortage has reached a breaking point. This report details the results of a study aimed at understanding the extent to which educator supply and demand are in equilibrium for particular subjects and geographic regions, including an analysis of historical trends and future predictions.

A Million New Teachers Are Coming: Will They Be Ready to Teach?

With schools in many areas dealing with shortages, it is especially important that the incoming teachers they do have are well-prepared. This brief describes elements of an effective start-to-finish look at teacher preparation.


Long Story Short: How Can We Alleviate the Shortage of Special Education Teachers?

In this video interview, Lynn Holdheide discusses her work with the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform Center to address the shortage and support students with disabilities.

Blog Posts

Teacher Shortages: Top 10 Ideas from the First State ESSA Plans

How are states going to tackle teacher shortages—and keep their great teachers? We analyzed 10 strategies from states’ new ESSA plans.

Critical Shortages in Special Education Teachers. Sound Familiar?

Teacher shortages may be the most acute problem in special education. In this blog post, Lynn Holdheide and Jenny DeMonte explore the issue and ask, "What drives special education teachers out of that role? And how can we keep them?"

It’s 2016: Do You Know Where the Teachers Are?

Enrollment in teacher preparation programs has been declining since 2010 and the teacher workforce is aging; meanwhile, K-12 enrollment is growing. But AIR's Alex Berg-Jacobson, Jesse Levin, and Jim Lindsay argue in this blog post that those commonly quoted statistics about teacher supply and demand don't tell the whole story.

The Leaky Pipeline: Why Don't New Teachers Teach?

The Leaky Pipeline: Why Don't New Teachers Teach?

Between a quarter and a half of those who complete a teacher preparation program don’t end up teaching after graduation. In our latest blog post, AIR’s Jenny DeMonte encourages policymakers to start tracking this data to help address teacher shortages and improve the teacher pipeline.

We Need More Testing...Of Our Assumptions

Teacher shortages are making headlines. In this blog post, AIR senior researcher Ellen Sherratt asks, Do we really know why fewer college students are interested in becoming educators?

Teacher Workforce Snapshot in Infographics

How much experience do U.S. teachers have? And how often do they move between schools or leave the profession?

Infographic: How Experienced Are U.S. Public School Teachers?

Infographic: Teacher Turnover


California's Emerging Teacher Shortage: New Evidence and Policy Responses

This event featuring California State Senator Carol Liu and Linda Darling Hammond focused on teacher shortages in California in specific fields and regions. Speakers shared new approaches to teacher recruitment, preparation, and retention to help ameliorate the worst impacts of the shortage. See highlights and watch video of the speakers and panels.

Image of Jesse Levin
Principal Economic Researcher