States Fall Short in Plans to Address Major Inequalities for Vulnerable Students

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) recently completed an analysis of what each of the 50 states intends to do to provide a more equitable education to all students, as described in their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans. The analysis from NCTQ highlight strengths and opportunities, ultimately demonstrating that most states are not planning to do enough to prevent low-income students and students of color from being disproportionately taught by ineffective, out-of-field, or inexperienced teachers.  

 NCTQ developed the report, along with an ESSA Educator Equity Best Practices Guide, to support state efforts to provide all students with strong teachers.

NCTQ examines four key areas of educator equity under the ESSA — definitions, data, timelines and interim targets, and strategies.  These elements are critical to help ensure that states are adequately identifying the teachers that are most likely to contribute to student academic achievement and establishing rigorous and transparent systems to help ensure that where such teachers are less likely to teach low-income students and students of color, the state is taking action to ensure that these inequities do not persist.

Below are several promising practices from states plans that are highlighted by NCTQ:    

  • Kentucky and New York each calculate and report additional data on student characteristics, including English learners and students with disabilities.
  • Utah gives bonuses to teachers who are considered effective in the highest poverty schools.
  • Florida has state legislation that requires districts to assure that students are not assigned to an ineffective teacher for two consecutive years.
  • South Carolina and Ohio calculate and report educator equity gaps using, among other data, student-level data to show equity gaps that exist within schools.

While these strong practices are worth applauding, the plans as a whole do not adequately address the issue of educator equity.    

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