Every child in Arkansas—from Fort Smith to West Memphis to El Dorado and everywhere in between—deserves an effective, qualified teacher in their classroom. Teachers inspire, build perspective, and ultimately prepare their students for success in life. And research shows that teacher quality is the most important in-school factor affecting student achievement.
Unfortunately, Arkansas has faced a massive shortage of certified teachers for decades. Statewide, 4% of public school teachers are uncertified, with another 3% teaching out of field. In many districts, the percentage of uncertified is much higher: as high as 56% in the Helena-West Helena School District, and 52% in the Forrest City School District.
Luckily, there are steps the state can take to address this problem. Especially given the devasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, it has never been more important to get an effective, qualified teacher in every Arkansas classroom. It won’t be easy, and will require dedication across the state. But Arkansas students are worth it.
This report by TNTP provides a roadmap for how to address this challenge. View the executive summary.