Policy | News

ED Launches Excellent Educators for All Initiative

The United States Department of Education (ED) has launched the Excellent Educators for All Initiative, which aims to foster the recruitment and retention of high quality teachers in high-poverty, high-minority school districts.

According to ED, "research indicates that students' race and family income often predict their access to excellent educators. Low-income students and high-need schools tend to have teachers who have less experience, credentials and a track record of success." In an effort to correct these systemic inequities, ED has developed this three-part initiative, which encourages and supports educators and leaders to develop innovative solutions tailored to their local needs.

The three components of the Excellent Educators for All Initiative include:

  • Comprehensive Educator Equity Plans, which ask states to analyze their local data and consult with constituents to develop new, comprehensive educator equity plans by April 2015;
  • Educator Equity Support Network, which is a new $4.2 million technical assistance network to support states and districts develop and implement their Comprehensive Educator Equity Plans; and
  • Educator Equity Profiles, which will be published this fall to help states identify gaps in access to quality teaching for low-income and minority students and spotlight high-needs schools that are recruiting and retaining effective educators.

Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association (NEA) said he agrees that students in high-need schools need fully prepared and effective educators, but he criticizes the administration for failing to close what he describes as a loophole in current legislation that describes "individuals still in teacher training as 'highly qualified,' which only serves to shortchange our students. The Department of Education could take a major step toward equity by closing this loophole," he said in a prepared statement.

Van Roekel also called on the administration to address the need for high quality educational opportunities for pre-school children. "We urge the Department of Education and the Obama administration to take a comprehensive approach to equity that includes access to high quality preschool and early learning opportunities and access to high quality, rigorous curriculum, adequate facilities and other learning conditions in schools and attention to out-of-school needs so we are educating the whole child," he said in a prepared statement.

Further information about the Excellent Educators for All Initiative can be found on the Department of Education's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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