FACT SHEET: Education Department Encourages Support for Educators and Teaching Profession through Title II, Part A

Archived Information

FACT SHEET: Education Department Encourages Support for Educators and Teaching Profession through Title II, Part A

September 27, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education today released non-regulatory guidance to help support the nation's educators and elevate the teaching profession. The guidance encourages states and districts to prepare, train, and recruit high-quality teachers and principals to increase student academic achievement. With the enactment of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states and districts have the opportunity to reimagine the way Title II, Part A funds can be used through driving innovation and building on evidence to better support educators.

"As a student, teacher, and principal, I know firsthand the powerful difference educators make in our children's future," said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. "Educators play a critical role in securing our nation's economic future and delivering on the promise of an excellent education for all children, especially those who have been historically underserved. That's why we are releasing guidance to help us better support our educators and ensure they not only have a seat at the table, but their voices are heard. We don't just want educators to be part of the change; we need them to lead it."

A great teacher can be one of the most important in-school factors impacting student achievement. The nation must make the investments needed to attract and keep top talent, and ensure that high-need schools have the resources, support and teachers they need. Support for educators is also critical to mitigate the high economic cost of teacher turnover—an estimated $7 billion per year.

ESSA provides multiple opportunities to better innovate and build on evidence with Title II, Part A dollars. This guidance highlights some of the key areas local leaders can invest these critical dollars to support the workforce through better preparation, mentorship and induction, increased diversity, and bolstering teacher leadership. The guidance focuses on the importance of aligning state strategies that support effective instruction with Title II, Part A investments to not only improve student outcomes, but sustain those improvements. The guidance offers suggestions across multiple domains:

Supporting Educators

  • Multiple Pathways to Teaching and Leading — Provides ways in which Title II, Part A funds may be used to support multiple pathways into the profession, including to support: teacher and school leader residency programs; teacher, principal and other school leader preparation academies; alternative routes to certification; and reform of preparation standards and approval, certification, licensure and tenure.

  • Induction and Mentorship: Encourages states and districts to use Title II, Part A funds to establish and support high quality educator induction and mentorship programs that are: evidence-based; designed to improve classroom instruction, student learning, and student achievement; and increase the retention of effective teachers, principals, or other school leaders.

  • Meaningful Evaluation and Support: Describes how states and districts may use Title II, Part A funds to support evaluation and support systems that continually improve instruction by relying on multiple measures and meaningful input from educators and other stakeholders as well as maintaining principles for what high-quality evaluation and support systems should include.

  • Strong Teacher Leadership: Provides ways in which Title II, Part A funds may be used to support meaningful teacher leadership opportunities, leveraging the professional experience and expertise of practitioners.

  • Transformative School Leadership: Describes how states can work to improve school leadership by: (a) devoting a significant portion of its state activities funds; and (b) considering its flexibility to reserve an additional three percent of Title II, Part A district subgrants for state activities to improve school leadership. Title II Part A funds may be used to support principal supervisors, as well as activities to support the professional learning of principals.

Promoting a Diverse Educator Workforce across the Career Continuum

Research shows that diversity in schools, including representation of underrepresented groups among educators, can provide significant benefits to all students. Improving the diversity of the educator workforce may be particularly beneficial for historically-underserved students who can benefit from shared lived experiences and identities of educators. This guidance suggests that when considering how to better support educators, states and districts should consider supporting a diverse educator workforce as a critical component of all strategies across the career continuum. States and districts may use Title II, Part A funds to improve the recruitment, placement, support, and retention of culturally-competent and responsive educators.

Leveraging Teacher Expertise and Leadership

Teacher leadership is a concept and practice that continues to gain momentum around the country. The availability of teacher leadership opportunities positively impacts teacher recruitment and retention, job satisfaction and student achievement. Over the last two years, the Department's Teach to Lead initiative has worked to meet a growing demand for teacher's voices in developing and implementing effective reforms in our schools. Through Teach to Lead summits and leadership labs, the Department has engaged with more than 3,000 teachers from across the country about how educators can lead from the classroom. Those educators have created more than 170 action plans for improvements at the school, district, state and national level.

This guidance aims to build on these efforts by ensuring significant teacher input into the application and planning process for local subgrants. This approach would give educators, parents and community members a meaningful role in determining the best use of program funds to both improve professional practice and help make schools great places to work. This approach recognizes that great teachers are more likely to stay in schools where they have meaningful input in developing and implementing solutions that will improve student learning.

This guidance also encourages schools to work collaboratively with teachers to address and improve the barriers to attracting and keeping the best educators in the schools where they are needed most, resulting in the transformation of some of the least-equipped and hardest-to-staff schools into destinations for educators and students alike.

Providing Equitable Access to Effective Educators

Part of the purpose of the Title II is to provide students from low-income families and students of color greater access to effective teachers, principals and other school leaders. In order to realize this outcome, states and districts are strongly encouraged in the guidance to use Title II, Part A funds to improve equitable access to effective teachers. Further, the guidance will address the proposed regulations that clarify a state's authority to direct a district to use a portion of its Title II, Part A funds to provide greater access to effective teachers, principals and other school leaders, provided that it does so in a manner that is consistent with the allowable activities outlined in ESSA. For example, Title II, Part A funds can be used to attract and retain effective educators in high-need schools through advancement opportunities, teacher-led professional development, improved working conditions and compensation. Title II, Part A funds can also support the creation of school environments where teachers and leaders have time to collaborate, and opportunities to lead and grow as professionals.

Strengthening Title II, Part A Investments

Consultation to Strengthen Title II, Part A Investments

Consultation is a critical part of ensuring that Title II, Part A funds are used effectively and decisions about resource allocation are fully informed. States and districts must engage in meaningful consultation with a broad range of stakeholders from diverse backgrounds (e.g., families, students, educators, private school officials, community partners), as required by ESEA.

A Cyclical Framework for Maximizing Title II, Part A Investments

Title II, Part A interventions are more likely to result in sustained, improved outcomes for students if:

  • Chosen interventions align with identified local needs;
  • The evidence base and the local capacity are considered when selecting a strategy;
  • There is a robust implementation plan;
  • Adequate resources are provided so the implementation is well-supported;
  • Information is gathered regularly to examine the strategy and to reflect on and inform next steps.

This guidance released today is designed to promote and foster robust collaboration and effective decision-making for better Title II, Part A investments. The full guidance and examples of best practices can be found here.