Kati Haycock, director of The Education Trust, on the release of Quality Counts 2003: “Ensuring a Highly Qualified Teacher for Every Classroom”
(Washington, DC) – “This year’s Quality Counts provides a terrific overview of the most damaging practice in American education: assigning the least prepared teachers to the very students who desperately need our best. Both the data and the state-by-state analysis in this report are a hugely important resource for anybody who wants to improve education, especially in schools serving poor and minority children.
“Fortunately, the federal government has loaned its muscle to those who have been working to call public attention to this often hidden problem. With passage of the No Child Left Behind Act last year, all states and districts are required by federal law to:
- notify parents when their children are being taught by an under qualified teacher;
- report publicly on the distribution of qualified teachers to different kinds of schools; and,
- take specific steps to ensure that low-income and minority students are NOT taught at greater rates than other students by under qualified teachers.
“States need to stop hiding behind averages, and focus on producing, attracting and retaining qualified teachers where they are needed most in schools and districts serving low-income and minority students. But, especially in these tight economic times, Washington must help, too. The President and Congress must step up to the plate and fund the Title 1 program for low-income students for at least the authorized level agreed to last year.
“Getting our best teachers where we need them most is a matter that is squarely in our power to achieve. If we did just this one thing made sure that our neediest students were taught for successive years by our most qualified teacherswe could literally close the national achievement gap. We can ill afford to delay.”