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Department of Education’s Latest ESSA Guidance Focuses on Elevating Teaching Profession

Department of Education’s Latest ESSA Guidance Focuses on Elevating Teaching Profession

As the nation gears up for the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the U.S. Department of Education has been working overtime to direct the process by releasing a series of guidances that focus on different topics affected by the legislation.

The latest guidance in the series is designed to support the country’s educators, in turn lessening annual teacher shortages and recruiting and retaining effective professionals.

"The guidance encourages states and districts to prepare, train, and recruit high-quality teachers and principals to increase student academic achievement. With the enactment of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states and districts have the opportunity to reimagine the way Title II, Part A funds can be used through driving innovation and building on evidence to better support educators,” said the Department of Education in a press release.

The guidance is broken up into the following categories:

  • Supporting Educators
  • Promoting a Diverse Educator Workforce Across the Career Continuum
  • Leveraging Teacher Expertise and Leadership
  • Providing Equitable Access to Effective Educators
  • Strengthening Title II, Part A Investments

Under ESSA, states are now encouraged to use funds to support multiple pathways into the teaching profession (like teacher residency programs and alternative certification pathways), create and implement strong induction and mentorship programs for new teachers, and improve teacher evaluation systems.

States are also encouraged to use funds to find ways to increase diversity within the profession:

"This guidance suggests that when considering how to better support educators, states and districts should consider supporting a diverse educator workforce as a critical component of all strategies across the career continuum. States and districts may use Title II, Part A funds to improve the recruitment, placement, support, and retention of culturally-competent and responsive educators,” the U.S. Department of Education said.

The guidance recommends that states work to ensure that high-need schools are being staffed with high-quality teachers.

"Title II, Part A funds can be used to attract and retain effective educators in high-need schools through advancement opportunities, teacher-led professional development, improved working conditions and compensation. Title II, Part A funds can also support the creation of school environments where teachers and leaders have time to collaborate, and opportunities to lead and grow as professionals.”

This is the second guidance the Department has released this week alone. Earlier in the week, the Department released a guidance that details how states should use funds to benefit English Language Learners under ESSA’s new requirements. Previous guidances have addressed foster and homeless youth in schools, making today’s guidance the first to address teachers.

Read more about the guidance here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

9/28/2016

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