Access to Strong Teachers

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The caliber of teachers drives student success. Take two students who start at the same academic level, and in as few as three years, you could find them in far different places—based on how well they have been taught. A student with three effective teachers in a row routinely makes significant progress. Given three weak teachers in a row, another student loses academic ground, and sometimes never recovers.
     Tragically, too many low-income and minority students receive teachers with inadequate training and skills. In fact, the schools that serve such students often are staffed by the least knowledgeable, experienced, and effective teachers. In core academic classes nationwide, teachers with neither certification nor a major in the subject teach in high-poverty schools at double the rate of low-poverty schools. Similar patterns of inequity exist within states and local districts. Far too often, our least able teachers educate our most vulnerable students.
     But here’s the good news: Assigning the best teachers to students most in need can close achievement gaps. That’s why The Education Trust shines a light on unequal access to high-caliber teachers. And it’s why we promote policies and practices that help low-income and students of color get the most critical school resource: teachers who can help them learn.
     Read more about access to strong teachers in this fact sheet and our two recent papers, "Building and Sustaining Talent: Creating Conditions in High-Poverty Schools That Support EffectiveTeaching and Learning" and "Fair to Everyone: Building the Balanced Evaluations That Educators and Students Deserve."
     For more information on the NCLB first-round waiver plans for educator evaluation, click here.