U.S. Department of Education Approves Nine Additional States' Plans to Provide Equal Access to Excellent Educators

U.S. Department of Education Approves Nine Additional States' Plans to Provide Equal Access to Excellent Educators

November 18, 2015

As part of its Excellent Educators for All Initiative—designed to ensure that all students have equal access to a high-quality education—the U.S. Department of Education today announced the approval of nine states' plans to ensure equitable access to excellent educators:  Idaho, Illinois, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah and Wyoming.

“All parents understand that strong teaching is fundamental to strong opportunities for their children. We as a country should treat that opportunity as a right that every family has—regardless of race, ethnicity or national origin, zip code, wealth, or first language," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

The nine states receiving approval of their plans are taking promising steps to eliminate the gaps some students face in access to excellent educators by implementing strategies and innovative solutions to challenging problems that meet local needs. Each of these states engaged a variety of stakeholder groups to ensure that these plans not only include strategies that are likely to be effective in eliminating identified equity gaps, but also to ensure that these strategies are meaningful for the students, teachers, and communities in which they’ll be implemented. This stakeholder engagement is critical to the success of this work, as we can only come up with workable, meaningful solutions to this problem if teachers, principals and other key stakeholders are at the table.

  • Eight of the states we are approving today —Idaho, Illinois, Montana, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Utah, Wyomingare working to support, strengthen, or modify teacher preparation programs, to help ensure that all teachers are ready to provide high-quality instruction to their students, and are prepared for success in high-need schools.
    • These actions include, for example, Illinois’ work to develop, with teacher preparation institutions, best practices for preparing individuals who wish to teach in high-poverty and/or high-minority districts and ensuring that these individuals have ample opportunity to engage in regular and prolonged field experience in these districts; and New Mexico’s work to incorporate data from its educator evaluation and support system, including data regarding how teachers in their first three years in the classroom perform, in a Teacher Preparation Report, which will impact accreditation of the state’s various teacher preparation programs.
  • Six of the states we are approving today —Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Utah—are taking steps to increase data-driven decision-making, to help ensure that schools and districts have access to accurate and timely information necessary to make knowledgeable decisions.
    • These steps include, for example, North Carolina’s work to develop a Human Capital Dashboard which will enable principals and human resource managers and administrators to analyze the effectiveness of teachers moving in and out of districts and schools to drive human capital decisions; and Ohio’s work to gather data from multiple systems and compile it into an Educator Workforce Strength Index that will allow districts to begin action planning around various, school-level, data measures, including those specifically related to equity gaps.
  • Six of the states we are approving today —Idaho, Illinois, Montana, Ohio, North Carolina, New Mexico—have included strategies that provide incentives designed to reward teachers for exceptional work and to encourage excellent educators to remain in the highest-need schools.
    • This work includes, for example, Idaho’s implementation of strategies designed to provide financial incentives to encourage excellent educators to remain in Idaho, ultimately reducing the number of inexperienced teachers teaching low-income and minority students and Montana’s implementation of Educator Talent Development Strategies, including expanded eligibility for the student loan forgiveness program to teachers in rural, high-poverty areas.
  • Finally, all of the states announced today have committed to holding themselves publicly accountable for meaningful progress in eliminating identified equity gaps by publicly reporting their progress. This public reporting will help ensure that students, schools, communities, and stakeholders continue to have information about states' progress in this critical work.

    In July 2014, the U.S. Department of Education announced a comprehensive Excellent Educators for All Initiative. As part of this initiative, states were asked to create new, comprehensive plans that put in place locally-developed solutions to ensure every student has equal access to effective educators. These plans are required by Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have submitted their plans for review by the Department.

    The Department previously approved plans for 33 states and the District of Columbia to ensure equitable access to excellent educators. Those states were: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin,

    The Department is currently reviewing the remaining state plans to determine whether they meet all of the requirements set in ESEA, and will make determinations regarding the plans on a rolling basis. The determinations and the plans in their entirety can be found online at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/titleiparta/resources.html.