TQReportJune2006 - Teaching Inequality How Poor and...

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Teaching Inequality How Poor and Minority Students Are Shortchanged on Teacher Quality A Report and Recommendations by the Education Trust By Heather G. Peske and Kati Haycock N ext month, for the first time, leaders in every state must deliver to the Secretary of Education their plans for ensuring that low-income and minority students in their states are not taught disproportionately by inexperienced, out-of-field, or uncertified teachers. For many, this process will be the first step in helping the citizens of their states to understand a fundamental, but painful truth: Poor and minority children don’t underachieve in school just because they often enter behind; but, also because the schools that are supposed to serve them actually shortchange them in the one resource they most need to reach their potential – high-quality teachers. Research has shown that when it comes to the distribution of the best teachers, poor and minority students do not get their fair share. Two years ago, with support from the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, three states—Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin—and their three biggest school systems—Cleveland, Chicago and Milwaukee—set out with the Education Trust to tackle this very problem. Together, teams of stakeholders in each jurisdiction collected data on teacher distribution and identified patterns. In every case, they found large differences between the qualifications of teachers in the highest-poverty and highest-minority schools and teachers serving in schools with few minority and low-income students. The teams then analyzed the information to determine possible reasons for the patterns, and came up with strategies to achieve a fairer distribution. June 2006
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2 This report draws from their experiences in an effort to help other states and cities as they prepare their own action plans. The report: Describes teacher distribution patterns nationally, along with selected findings in these pilot states and districts; Summarizes evidence about how differences in teacher quality affect student achievement, especially among low-income students, students of color and low-achieving students of all races; Explains the requirement in No Child Left Behind that all groups of children receive their fair share of strong teachers; Shares key lessons from the pilot states and districts that may be useful to other states and districts as they move to address the problem of teacher distribution; and, Sets forth a range of strategies that can be used to address this problem — some from the stakeholder groups in the pilot states and districts, and others from the Education Trust. Not all of these lessons and recommendations will be applicable in every state and district; but together, we hope they will provide a useful foundation for much-needed conversations and action on this problem.
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