All Teaching Shortages Are Not Equal: 4 Takeaways From New Research

Education Week


In a working paper published this month by Brown University’s Annenberg Center, four researchers—Danielle Sanderson Edwards and Matthew A. Kraft from Brown, Alvin Christian from the University of Michigan, and Christopher A. Candelaria from Vanderbilt University—analyzed teacher vacancy data from 2019 for Tennessee schools. 

At the start of that school year, 2 percent of teaching positions were unfilled, a small but still significant number as students were already entering classrooms.

But those vacancies were concentrated in a quarter of the state’s schools, and the percentage of unfilled vacancies in secondary schools was far greater than that of elementary vacancies.

A casual observer might assume that some districts had much higher vacancy rates than others. But researchers found the biggest differences in vacancy rates were between schools within the same district. And shortages in one subject area did not necessarily correspond with a comparable shortage in another.


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