Arkansas must provide every student with an effective, qualified teacher. A TNTP report published in 2021 entitled “Missing Out: Arkansas’ Teacher Shortage and How to Fix It” found that many Arkansas school districts are facing severe teacher shortages. This shortage is concentrated in the Southern and Eastern regions of the state and is due not only to a lack of qualified teachers but also a lack of diversity in the teacher workforce, resulting in widening educational equity gaps for students.
In 2021, Forward partnered with the Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop and launch Teach Arkansas, a campaign to increase the number of qualified, certified, and diverse teachers in Arkansas. Through this initiative we are building awareness of the multiple pathways to teaching and related financial incentives that currently exist in the state. We want more Arkansans to understand the opportunities and benefits of becoming a teacher and encourage more to enter this rewarding and fulfilling profession.