How Do We Get Them on the Farm? Efforts to Improve Rural Teacher Recruitment and Retention in Arkansas

Robert Maranto, James V. Shuls

Abstract


Rural schools, particularly high poverty rural schools, often have difficulty hiring and retaining qualified teachers. Here, we discuss three programs the Arkansas Department of Education has used to attract teachers to teacher Geographic Shortage Districts (GSDs) through material incentives. Unfortunately, none of the programs have had much success, perhaps in part since the funding offered was inadequate to attract new teachers to isolated communities. Additionally, we analyze the use of materialistic and non-materialistic incentives on the websites of all school districts designated as GSDs by the Arkansas Department of Education. Few GSDs display non-materialistic appeals that might entice individuals to seek out employment in the district, with the notable exception of KIPP Delta, the only charter school on the list, which has much more success recruiting teachers. We end with suggestions for policymakers and school district officials seeking to attract teachers to geographic shortage areas.

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