DECISION POINTS: Defining, Calculating, and Addressing Gaps in Access to Effective Educators

Effective teachers can have a significant impact on student success; unfortunately, low-income students, students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities are more likely to be assigned to unqualified, less experienced, and less effective teachers. Inequitable access to effective educators is one contributing factor that reinforces achievement gaps for disadvantaged students.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to identify and close gaps in equitable access to effective teachers but does offer flexibility on how to get there. These flexibilities are an opportunity to build on states’ 2014 equity plans and collaboratively work with districts, schools, educator preparation programs, and other stakeholders to identify and close gaps in access to effective educators. States can use ESSA’s requirements and flexibilities to select ambitious and innovative strategies that address root causes, close gaps in access, and strengthen the educator workforce.

State education agencies can use this brief to:

  1. Guide and inform equitable access planning and implementation: This brief can support states as they define terms and parameters for equitable access reporting. The brief offers a detailed description of each of the four decision points identified.
  2. Explore examples of state-level initial equity planning and results reporting: For each decision point, share state and local examples based on a scan of states’ initial determinations for equitable access policy and reporting.
  3. Consider ways to support districts: The brief concludes with detailed examples of ways states are supporting districts to address identified equity gaps.