Wednesday, November 12, 2014

U.S. to Focus on Equity in Assigning of Teachers

Veteran's Day 2014- Hoboken, NJ 
New York Times ^ | November 10, 2014 | MOTOKO RICH 
Posted on November 11, 2014 7:37:40 AM CST by reaganaut1

The Obama administration is directing states to show how they will ensure that all students have equal access to high-quality teachers, with a sharp focus on schools with a high proportion of the poor and racial minorities. 

In a letter to state superintendents released Monday, Deborah S. Delisle, an assistant secretary at the Department of Education, said states must develop plans by next June that make sure that public schools comply with existing federal law requiring that “poor and minority children are not taught at higher rates than other children by inexperienced, unqualified or out-of-field teachers.” 
States last submitted plans to address such inequities in 2006, but data shows that large disparities persist. 

“It is important to remind our states that one step in front of the other is the way to begin to deliver for all our students,” said Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights, in a conference call with reporters. “We are all dismayed by the lack of compliance and lack of satisfaction and delivery on this point.” 

The Education Department will send each state data collected by the department’s Office for Civil Rights showing rates of teacher experience, certification, absenteeism and salary by school as well as student access to taxpayer-funded preschool and advanced courses in math and science. 
The administration is also urging states to look at teacher evaluations to determine whether those who receive lower ratings are disproportionately assigned to schools with high proportions of racial minorities and students in poverty. 

But the only requirement of states is that they ensure that teachers are equitably distributed based on experience and credentials. 

Education advocates said such measures could limit improvements in the quality of instruction in struggling schools.