Teacher Shortages and Surpluses

General Teacher Preparation Policy

Teacher Shortages and Surpluses

The state should inform district hiring needs with key teacher supply and demand data. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.

Best practices

Although no state is awarded "best practice" honors, NCTQ would like to commend Illinois, KentuckyMarylandTennessee, and West Virginia for not only collecting and reporting recent supply and demand data, but also for explicitly connecting that data to program completion, certification, and district hiring statistics. Maryland remains noteworthy for its "Teacher Staffing Report," which continues to serve as a model for other states. By collecting hiring data from districts and data on graduates from approved programs, Maryland has gathered a rich set of data—including information on graduates and new hires by program, ethnicity, and gender—that can inform policy decisions. These data help determine teacher shortage areas as well as areas of surplus, and when connected with teacher program data, allow the state to predict areas that may be hard to staff in the future so that the state can take necessary and appropriate action to prevent likely shortages before they occur.

Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2017). Teacher Shortages and Surpluses National Results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/national/Teacher-Shortages-and-Surpluses-81
Best practice 0


Meets goal 0


Nearly meets goal 9


Meets goal in part 8


Meets a small part of goal 16


Does not meet goal 18


Do states track the supply of teachers and alignment with demand for new teachers?

Add previous year
Figure details

Yes. State publishes data that connect the teacher supply to district hiring needs. : IL, KY, MD, NC, NY, OH, TN, WV

Partially. State publishes some relevant teacher supply data and/or district hiring data, but does not connect these data to highlight teacher shortage and surplus areas. : AR, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, KS, LA, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NJ, OR, RI, SC, UT, VA, WA, WI

No. State does not publish relevant data regarding teacher supply. : AK, AL, AZ, ID, IN, ME, MS, MT, ND, NH, NM, NV, OK, PA, SD, TX, VT, WY

Do states make teacher mobility data at the district level publicly available?

Figure details

Yes: GA, IN, LA, MA, MI, NC, NY, TX, WV

No : AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, HI, IA, ID, IL, KS, KY, MD, ME, MN, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WY

Updated: December 2017

How we graded

1B: Teacher Shortages and Surpluses

  • Data Reporting: The state should collect and publicly report data relating to the supply of teachers from each approved teacher preparation program that is relevant to local hiring needs.
  • Responsiveness to Teaching Needs: The state should establish clear parameters for its approved programs that govern the number of teachers trained in each major certification area to reduce the chronic surpluses in some certification areas and increase the number of certificates in areas of shortage.
Data Reporting
Three-quarters of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • Three-quarters credit: The state will earn the full three-quarters of a point if it publishes data that adequately connect teacher production data to district hiring data.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it publishes teacher production data but does not explicitly connect such data to district hiring data.
Responsiveness to Teaching Needs
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it has established clear parameters for teacher preparation programs that govern the number of teachers trained in each major certification area.

Research rationale

It is an inefficient use of resources for individual districts to build their own data systems for tracking teachers. States need to take the lead and provide districts with state-level data that can be used not only for the purpose of measuring teacher effectiveness, but also to gauge the supply and demand of teachers in the state.[1] Furthermore, multiple years of data are necessary to identify staffing trends.[2]

Many preparation programs graduate people who are certified to teach but do not get jobs in the classroom. Often times, this is because these teachers pursue certifications in areas that already have a surplus of teachers (e.g., elementary education), while districts struggle to find applicants to hire in other areas (e.g., special education, science).[3] Given this misalignment between the teachers that teacher preparation programs produce and the hiring needs of school districts, the state should step in to establish a cohesive data reporting system. By creating reports that publicly delineate the number of teachers produced by each teacher preparation program (and therefore by certification area), the state will be better able to identify instances where the production of teachers does not match districts' needs.

Furthermore, the state should consider whether teacher preparation programs are supplying districts with the teachers they need when approving or re-approving programs. Teacher preparation programs exist primarily to prepare teachers for public school positions (approximately 88 percent of teachers work in public schools).[4] If teacher preparation programs produce far more teachers than the state needs in some certification areas and far too few in others, the programs are failing to meeting their state's demand. Moreover, student teaching placements (which tend to be near candidates' teacher prep programs) are highly predictive of where candidates will get their first teaching jobs, therefore also allowing states the ability to predict which open positions are likely to be filled.[5] Given that the preparation program's function is to supply the nearby area (and more generally, the state) with public school teachers, it is incumbent upon the state to make sure the program fulfills that responsibility— particularly through the collection and application of data on teacher production numbers and district demand— and to intervene when necessary by capping the number of teachers in certain certification areas that a program can produce.

[1] Cowan, J., Goldhaber, D., Hayes, K., & Theobald, R. (2016). Missing elements in the discussion of teacher shortages. Retrieved from http://www.caldercenter.org/missing-elements-discussion-teacher-shortages
[2] For information about the use of student-growth models to report on student-achievement gains at the school level, see: Schochet, P. Z., & Chiang, H. S. (2010). Error rates in measuring teacher and school performance based on student test score gains (NCEE 2010-4004). National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20104004/pdf/20104004.pdf; as well as: Thompson, T. G., & Barnes, R. E. (2007). Beyond NCLB: Fulfilling the promise to our nation's children. The Commission on No Child Left Behind, 13-14.
[3] Cowan, J., Goldhaber, D., Hayes, K., & Theobald, R. (2016). Missing elements in the discussion of teacher shortages. CALDER. Retrieved from http://www.caldercenter.org/missing-elements-discussion-teacher-shortages
[4] National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). Table 208.20: Public and private elementary and secondary teachers, enrollment, pupil/teacher ratios, and new teacher hires: Selected years, fall 1955 through fall 2025. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d15/tables/dt15_208.20.asp
[5] Krieg, J. M., Theobald, R., & Goldhaber, D. (2016). A foot in the door: Exploring the role of student teaching assignments in teachers' initial job placements. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 38(2), 364-388.