(Washington, D.C.) Today, the U.S. Department of Education released a review of each states plan to ensure that all students are taught by highly qualified and experienced teachers. The Department concluded that the overwhelming majority of states must revise and re-submit their data and plans to address inequities.
This is a move in the right direction, said Heather Peske, Education Trusts senior associate for teacher quality. But the Department and states should do more. Its critical that the Department provide concrete and specific guidance to states on what sorts of data they need to collect and what it will take to address the problem.
The Education Trust urges the Department to:
- Issue Explicit Guidance to All States
The Department needs to issue more explicit guidance to all states on what is required of them under the teacher-equity provisions in No Child Left Behind. Currently, the Department is planning to issue guidance to just four states cited for their lack of plans. Much more is needed. Given the states confusion over what information they were initially supposed to submit to the Department, it is clear that states need specific advice on the data they need to collect and the strategies they need to design and use to solve these problems.
- Hold States Accountable in September
It also is important that the Department rigorously review the new data and revised plans that states submit in September to determine whether they offer an accurate picture of teacher distribution, provide concrete strategies to ensure that poor and minority students are not disproportionately taught by inexperienced, unqualified and out-of-field teachers and offer measurable goals to track progress.
The Department should hold states accountable to the equity-plan requirements, no matter how long it takes to get it right, Peske said. This shouldnt devolve into a bureaucratic paper- shuffling exercise at the expense of low-income and minority students.
The Department has been way too lax on the teacher-quality front for the last four years, she said. Our hope is that they use this opportunity to take teacher quality seriously. The educational future of poor and minority students depends on it.
Note: To see the Education Trusts full analysis of the teacher-equity plans that each state submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, please click here. The analysis, Missing the Mark: An Education Trust Analysis of Teacher-Equity Plan, includes a full suite of recommendations to address inequitable distribution of teachers.