Saturday, July 19, 2014

U.S. Department of Education Monday detailed its long-awaited "50-state" strategy

Kudos to Duncan – this is SO important!

The U.S. Department of Education Monday detailed its long-awaited "50-state" strategy for putting some teeth into a requirement  of the 12-year-old No Child Left Behind Act that has gone largely unenforced up until now: ensuring that poor and minority students get access to as many great teachers as their more advantaged peers. 

States will be required to submit new plans to address teacher distribution by April of 2015, or just a few months before the department likely will begin to consider states' requests to renew their waivers from the NCLB law. (Read a letter the department sent to state chiefs outlining the plan here.) 

This isn't the first time that the feds have asked states to outline their plans on teacher distribution, but the results so far haven't exactly been a stunning success.

Under NCLB, which was signed into law in 2002, states were required to ensure that poor and minority students were not being taught by unqualified teachers at a higher rate than other students. But fewer than half of states have separate teacher-equity plans on file with the department. Most of those plans are at least several years old, and the Education Trust, a Washington based organization that advocates for poor and minority kids, found them to be seriously lacking in this  2006 report. 

Meanwhile, a national survey of teachers found that core classes in high-poverty schools are twice as likely to be taught by out-of-field teachers as similar classes at schools serving more advantaged students, according to the Education Trust.

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