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Obama Administration to Focus on High-Quality Teachers in All Schools

Obama Administration to Focus on High-Quality Teachers in All Schools

The Obama Administration recently announced its effort to ensure that all students will have access to high-quality teachers, focusing on low-income schools first.

Assistant Secretary at the Department of Education Deborah S. Delisle released a letter to state superintendents Monday declaring that states “must develop plans by next June that make sure that public schools comply with existing federal law requiring that ‘poor and minority children are not taught at higher rates than other children by inexperienced, unqualified or out-of-field teachers,’” said an article in The New York Times.

“It is important to remind our states that one step in front of the other is the way to begin to deliver for all our students,” said Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights. “We are all dismayed by the lack of compliance and lack of satisfaction and delivery on this point.”

The Education Department, the Times said, “will send each state data collected by the department’s Office for Civil Rights showing rates of teacher experience, certification, absenteeism and salary by school as well as student access to taxpayer-funded preschool and advanced courses in math and science.”

“The administration is also urging states to look at teacher evaluations to determine whether those who receive lower ratings are disproportionately assigned to schools with high proportions of racial minorities and students in poverty,” the article continued. “But the only requirement of states is that they ensure that teachers are equitably distributed based on experience and credentials.”

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said she agreed with the Obama Administration’s efforts, the article said.

“We’re supporting this process because the rhetoric around this process has changed from ‘Just come up with the data and we will sanction you if the data doesn’t look right,’” said Weingarten.

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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