First Things First: We Need Your Input

By Jane Coggshall, GTL Center Content Lead May 15, 2013

Welcome to the inaugural post to the Great Teachers and Leaders for All Learners blog from the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders! In the coming weeks and months, we will be using this space to explore the actions that states and others can take to ensure equitable access to effective educators.

We are launching Great Teachers and Leaders for All Learners for the following reasons:

  • Because achievement gaps still tear at our social fabric.
  • Because low-income students and students of color still tend to drop out of school at higher rates than their fellow students.
  • Because low-income students, students of color, and students with disabilities are still disproportionately represented in the school-to-prison pipeline.
  • Because research shows that economic inequality in the United States is growing, and children born without advantage have less and less access to the American dream.
  • Because although access to highly effective educators is a large part of the solution to these problems, study after study shows that low-income students and students in high-poverty schools simply do not have access to great teachers and leaders.

Ensuring access to highly effective educators for all learners is not simple. It will require many different paths toward equity. Through this interactive blog, we will grapple with the following topics:

  • Disparities in teaching and learning conditions
  • The role of school leaders in recruiting, growing, and retaining great teachers
  • Measuring equity using district teacher evaluation systems
  • How to pump new life into federally mandated state and district equity plans
  • Extending the reach of effective educators
  • The special challenges facing rural and frontier schools
  • The link between student discipline and equitable teacher distribution
  • Getting great career and technical education teachers in high-need schools
  • Findings from the latest research on equitable distribution
  • Why equitable distribution is not higher on states’ policy agendas

To that end, we will post questions and provide commentary every other week, often inviting expert guest bloggers to share their knowledge and experiences. And, throughout the journey, we want to learn from you. We need your comments and ideas, your stories of success, and your lessons learned.

So, here’s our first question: What issues or strategies do you think the GTL Center should explore with you in this space?

Add your comments in the comment box below, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter if you prefer!


Great question, Jane. From my perspective, we can't talk about the issue of "Great Teachers and Leaders" without first recognizing that there is insufficient and inconsistent time provided for teachers and administrators to collaborate. Our schools are a veritable gold mine of professional wisdom, experience, expertise, and know-how. Merely implementing new supervision and evaluation models or making blanket statements calling for dramatic improvements to the profession without first ensuring that teachers have time and support to learn with and from one another is futile. So I suggest taking some time in this new space to engage educators around the issue of time and collaboration and to share promising models.

I think the list of possible topics listed is a great start. This blog could also serve as an opportune space to highlight best practices or success stories in teacher recruitment, induction and retention in high-needs schools. Another particular topic may include supporting teachers of English language learners who don't have formal preparation to work with this population and who may not have access to ESL or bilingual ed specialists in their school. There should also be discussion on the role of schools of education and how they are preparing students to address the needs of disadvantaged students, especially in the era of the Common Core State Standards.

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