Tags: Education Department | teacher inequity

NYT: Education Dept. Moves to Close Teacher 'Equity Gap'

By    |   Tuesday, 11 Nov 2014 12:40 PM

The Obama administration is ordering state public school superintendents to submit new plans on how it will handle issues of teacher inequity with guidelines on moving stronger educators to struggling schools, The New York Times reported.

State education heads received letters from Deputy Secretary of Education Deborah S. Delisle on Monday, asking them to devise plans by June 2015 showing how they will work to ensure well-prepared educators are in all classrooms with an eye on closing the teacher gap and making sure low-income districts receive the same solid teachers as their wealthier counterparts.

The last time states were asked to comply with an equity plan was 2006, but like the persistent student achievement gap, the department contends that teacher inequities continue, the Times reported.

In a conference call, Catherine Lhamon, the Department of Education's assistant secretary of civil rights, noted that the lack of progress was upsetting.

“It is important to remind our states that one step in front of the other is the way to begin to deliver for all our students,” said Lhamon said, according to the Times. “We are all dismayed by the lack of compliance and lack of satisfaction and delivery on this point.”

Data released by the department last March — from a survey of the nation's 97,000 public school districts — showed a persistent pattern of poorer schools having less-experienced teachers in classrooms. Schools serving large numbers of minority students also offered fewer rigorous science and math courses and had higher rates of student suspensions, the Times reported.

The survey also determined that lower-income schools had fewer teachers with master's degrees and fewer teachers with subject matter certifications.

The new Obama administration plan, called the Excellent Educators for All initiative, gives states flexibility to determine what plans work best for them in closing the gaps, The Huffington Post reported.

The Department of Education first announced its teacher-gap remediation plan in July.

“All children are entitled to a high-quality education regardless of their race, zip code or family income. It is critically important that we provide teachers and principals the support they need to help students reach their full potential,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a statement announcing the initiative.

“Despite the excellent work and deep commitment of our nation's teachers and principals, systemic inequities exist that shortchange students in high-poverty, high-minority schools across our country," Duncan added. "We have to do better. Local leaders and educators will develop their own innovative solutions, but we must work together to enhance and invigorate our focus on how to better recruit, support and retain effective teachers and principals for all students, especially the kids who need them most.”

Monday's letter to state education chiefs marks the administration's intensification of pressure on districts to do a better job, The Wall Street Journal noted. The Department of Education has allocated $4.2 million to help states devise new plans.

Some, though, said Washington was the wrong place to offer the unique solutions needed for specific schools.

“These solutions don’t come from Washington, D.C., but from local communities and states working diligently to improve instruction for every child,” Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, told the Journal as the new push was announced.

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The Obama administration is ordering state public school superintendents to submit new plans on how it will handle issues of teacher inequity with guidelines on moving stronger educators to struggling schools, The New York Times reported.
Education Department, teacher inequity
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2014-40-11
Tuesday, 11 Nov 2014 12:40 PM
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