Access to highly effective teachers is essential for student achievement. However, growing evidence suggests students have unreliable and inequitable access to effective educators, with many school districts reporting high levels of teacher vacancies. This paper offers perspectives on the topic from rural district leaders across Tennessee.

Rural District Leader Perceptions Of The Educator Labor Market

Rural districts specifically face unique challenges when it comes to recruiting and retaining talent, leading to lingering vacancies and a growing need to issue emergency credentials to meet hiring needs. To better understand the current state of rural educator labor markets, SCORE sought perspectives from rural district leaders across the state to elevate ongoing educator labor market challenges and opportunities. This paper is the second in a series exploring the broader trends behind Tennessee’s educator labor market challenges and offering actionable solutions to school, district, and policy leaders.

Key findings include:

  • Over 80 percent of rural district leaders in our sample do not believe Tennessee’s teacher pipeline is producing enough effective educators.
  • Over 75 percent of rural district leaders in our sample do not believe their district has access to the number of effective educators it needs to support students.
  • Nearly 70 percent of rural district leaders in our sample do not believe that Tennessee has strong policies and strategies in place to support the teaching pipeline.