Most states have failed to ensure that poor and minority students get their fair share of qualified teachers as required by federal law, a new analysis contends.
The No Child Left Behind Act, enacted in 2001, says underprivileged and minority schoolchildren should not have a larger share of teachers who are unqualified, inexperienced or teaching unfamiliar topics. It puts the responsibility on states to figure out how to do that.
States are falling far short on the promise, according to a study released Thursday by the Education Trust, a group that advocates for poor and minority youths. It is based on a review of new plans from every state and the District of Columbia.
“What we found gives cause for grave concern,” said Heather Peske, one of the authors.
The report contends that states handed in vastly incomplete data, weak strategies for fixing inequities across schools, and goals so vague they can’t be measured.
The Education Department took heat too. The report blames the agency for giving poor guidance to the states and for essentially ignoring the teacher-equity issue for four years.
“We cannot close achievement gaps if we don’t close gaps in teacher quality,” said Ross Wiener, policy director of the Education Trust.
The Education Department will release its own review of the state plans next week.