Poor Students and Students of Color Need Better Access to Highly Qualified Teachers

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We want to get the best teachers to the students who need them most, but a review of data from the newest teacher evaluation systems show that that is not always what happens. In an analysis of the newest data, we find that in some areas, poor students and students of color are far less likely than others to have expert teachers.

However, this pressing issue of equal access to great teaching is on the radar of policymakers and advocates. It has taken center stage as a key education policy for the coming year. President Barack Obama spotlighted it in his fiscal year 2015 budget request. Federal officials at the U.S. Department of Education are on the verge of issuing a new strategy to require all states to update their plans to ensure that every student has equal access to high-quality teaching. All told, this is a good time to take a look at new educator evaluation data to see if the information generated by this new reform can illuminate this issue. The concern among policymakers and student advocates is that students in disadvantaged schools are less likely to have access to high-quality instruction than students in affluent schools.

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