Obama administration backtracks on teacher equity

Dec 2, 2013 by

By Tara Kini –

I’m confused. I believed the Obama administration when it said it cared about getting all kids access to good teachers. President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have talked a big game by promoting the RESPECT Initiative, arguing that “no other profession holds out more promise of opportunity to children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds” than teaching.

But if the president and the secretary truly believe equitable access to good teachers is at the heart of equal educational opportunity, why have they rolled back the requirement to ensure our children equal access to good teachers? No matter how you define what a “good” teacher is — a full credential, subject matter expertise, and experience (as No Child Left Behind measured equitable access to good teaching), or teachers who produce student growth as measured by standardized test scores (as the Obama Administration chooses to measure it) — the Department of Education’s recent backtracking on waivers makes it clear that equity isn’t a priority.

Actions speak louder than words. Right now, President Obama is earning an ‘F’ for his policies on teacher equity.

Early in his presidency, Obama breathed new life into the NCLB promise to provide poor and minority students with equal access to qualified, experienced and subject-matter expert teachers. The Bush administration had done little to enforce NCLB’s “equitable distribution of teachers” requirement. Obama, however, made enforcement of this provision a priority in his stimulus bill in 2009, conditioning receipt of stimulus funding on compliance with this provision.

Since then, however, Department of Education policies show how low a priority equitable access to good teachers really is for the administration. Here are just three of them:

via Obama administration backtracks (again) on teacher equity.

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