RELEASE: New Report Finds Poor and Minority Students are More Likely to be Taught by Ineffective Teachers

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new report that finds that poor and minority students are more likely to be taught by a teacher rated ineffective and less likely to be taught by one who is exemplary.

“We’ve known for awhile that poor and minority students attending U.S. public schools are more likely to be taught by underqualified or brand-new teachers,” said Jenny DeMonte, co-author of the report and Associate Director for Education Research at the Center for American Progress. “Our new report takes this idea a step further. Using new evaluation data, we found that these same children are also more likely to be taught by a teacher rated ineffective.”

The report presents a tale of two states, Louisiana and Massachusetts, which are two early adopters of new teacher evaluation systems that have both released effectiveness data from the 2012-13 school year using new measures. CAP’s experts combined this information with data on student enrollment to glean information about the distribution of teachers across school demographics.

The analysis found that an inequitable distribution of teachers is still very prevalent in Louisiana. A student in a high-poverty school is three times more likely to have an ineffective teacher, and a student in a high-minority-enrollment school  is twice as likely. In contrast, the report finds that in Massachusetts, teachers are somewhat more equitably distributed.

The report does point to one bright spot in Louisiana—Ascension Parish—where the distribution of highly effective and ineffective teachers is more evenly spread across schools with different concentrations of poverty.

“While it’s frustrating to see the persistent lack of access of many children to highly effective teachers, it’s also clear that we can take action,” said Robert Hanna, co-author of the report and Senior Education Policy Analyst at CAP. “Policymakers should be looking to places like Ascension Parish, Louisiana, to learn about the policies and practices that help give all students access to great teaching.”

A companion CAP report also released today reviews the research about the distribution of teachers and examines the federal and state policies that have been enacted in an effort to improve the situation. The analysis also proposes policies that could change current outcomes and presses education officials to consider ways to improve the distribution of teachers.

To speak with experts on this issue, please contact Madeline Meth at or 202.741.6277.