ESSA │Educator Equity
Every student deserves teachers and leaders who can help them achieve their potential. Yet research consistently shows that many students lack access to excellent educators. In particular students of color, students from low-income families or rural backgrounds, students with special needs, English learners and other disadvantaged subgroups historically are served by teachers who are more likely to be inexperienced, teaching out of field, or less effective. Recently, as part of the 2015 Excellent Educators for All initiative, states developed equity plans to identify gaps in student access to great teachers and detail strategies to address these gaps. This process sparked significant collaboration across diverse education stakeholders, creating broad political will around equitable access and shifting the conversation from the distribution of educators to identifying strategies to support and retain educators. ESSA continued this shift by maintaining and expanding the educator equity requirements under No Child Left Behind, and creating new opportunities to connect equity work with other parts of the law, such as school improvement planning.
AIR has a strong reputation for supporting practitioners and stakeholders in education to develop and implement plans to improve equitable access to excellent educators. Experts from AIR’s Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center) have provided technical assistance to over 20 states to support the development of their equity plans, including support around stakeholder engagement, root cause analysis, data analysis, local equity planning and strategy development. In addition, the GTL Center convened a 45-state convening to help states share insights and ideas to strengthen their plans. The GTL Center is currently supporting efforts to implement these plans and incorporate them within states’ ESSA Consolidated State plans. With the emerging focus in ESSA to support districts in their equity efforts, AIR is also supporting the Texas Education Agency to improve equitable access through development of an “equity toolkit” to help Texas districts craft and implement local equity plans.
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