Education

Obama Asks States to Get Better Teachers in High-Poverty Schools

July 8, 2014

More equitable teacher distribution – making sure that poor and minority students have teachers that are as qualified as those teaching their wealthier peers – has long been an outcome that federal education officials have held out as a goal.

On Monday, the US Department of Education released its latest strategy to ensure some movement, the Excellent Educators for All Initiative. The plan calls for states to submit new, comprehensive plans for improving equity and getting great teachers into classrooms with disadvantaged students, and creates several support structures to help states follow through.

“All children are entitled to a high-quality education regardless of their race, ZIP code, or family income,” US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. “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.”

Ensuring that poor and minority students aren’t taught by less-qualified teachers has actually been a federal requirement for states since 2002, when No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was signed into law, but few states have taken much action.

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