As part of its efforts to ensure that all students have equal access to a quality education, today the U.S. Department of Education is announcing the launch of the Excellent Educators for All Initiative. The initiative will help states and school districts support great educators for the students who need them most.
“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,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “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. 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.”
Today’s announcement is another important step forward in improving access to quality education, a component of President Obama’s year of action. Absent Congressional action, the President is moving forward on behalf of vulnerable children and families. Later today, Secretary Duncan will lead a roundtable discussion with principals and school teachers from across the country about the challenges of working in high-need schools and how to incorporate promising practices for supporting great educators in these schools.
The three-part Excellent Educators for All Initiative includes:
- Comprehensive Educator Equity Plans
- The Department is asking states to analyze their data and consult with teachers, principals, districts, parents and community organizations to create new, comprehensive educator equity plans that put in place locally-developed solutions to ensure every student has effective educators.
- Chief State School Officers will receive a letter today from Secretary Duncan asking them to submit their new plans by April 2015. These plans were first created in 2006 and are required by Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
- Educator Equity Support Network
- The Department is investing $4.2 million to launch a new technical assistance network to support states and districts in developing and implementing their plans to ensure all students have access to great educators.
- The network will work to develop model plans, share promising practices, provide communities of practice for educators to discuss challenges and share lessons learned with each other, and create a network of support for educators working in high-need schools.
- Educator Equity Profiles
- To empower communities and help states enhance their equity plans, the Department will publish Educator Equity profiles this fall. The profiles will help states identify gaps in access to quality teaching for low-income and minority students, as well as shine a spotlight on places where high-need schools are beating the odds and successfully recruiting and retaining effective educators.
- In addition to the profiles, the states will receive their complete data file from the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). States will be able to conduct detailed analyses of the data to inform their discussions about local inequities and design strategies for improving those inequities.
Research indicates that students’ race and family income often predict their access to excellent educators. Low-income students and high-need schools tend to have teachers who are less experienced, have fewer credentials and do not demonstrate a track record of success. In Louisiana, the percentage of teachers rated highly effective is 50% higher in low-poverty, low-minority schools than in high-poverty, high-minority schools. Similarly, in Tennessee, the percentage of teachers rated highly effective is 33% higher in schools with low-poverty and minority student populations than high-poverty, high-minority schools. In North Carolina, highly effective teachers are 50% more likely to leave a disadvantaged school than an advantaged school. Nationally, according to the Department’s Civil Rights Data Collection, black and American Indian students are four times as likely as white students to be enrolled in a school with more than 20% first year teachers, and Latino students are three times as likely.
The Education Department’s actions today are about ensuring every child has access to a high-quality educator. The Department’s commitment to equity in education underlies all of its activities from the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility, and School Improvement Grants, to its Race to the Top - Opportunity proposal, among others. To learn more about today’s announcement, visit: http://www.ed.gov/.
Editor’s Note: Following Secretary Duncan’s roundtable discussion with teachers and principals at 2:15 P.M. on Monday, July 7 at the Education Department, there will be a media availability with Secretary Duncan; Randi Weingarten, president American Federation of Teachers; Wade Henderson, president and CEO of Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; and Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers.