Reducing Inequality in the Distribution of Qualified Teachers and Principals? District Funding and Educator Quality Gaps

What actions help districts successfully narrow educator quality gaps?

Research has demonstrated that students of color and low-income students have the least qualified and experienced teachers and principals. While equitable access to effective teachers is a key component of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), policymakers lack evidence about the factors that affect the equitable distribution of qualified educators. The investigator will study a statewide student-level administrative dataset from Texas and examine the extent to which low-income students and students of color attend schools with less-qualified teachers and principals and how these trends have changed during the past twenty years. He will analyze within-district educator quality gaps from 1994–95 to 2014–15 and within-school teacher quality gaps from 2011–12 to 2014–15. Educator quality gaps are defined here as the difference between the proportion of disadvantaged versus advantaged students who are assigned to lower-quality teachers or principals within a particular district. Educator quality will be measured through experience levels, educational attainment, salary level, and certification status. Importantly the investigator will identify district-level factors that are associated with a narrowed educator quality gap over time and examine whether NCLB-era accountability pressures and changes in per-pupil funding affected educator quality gaps within districts. This study will offer insight into how resource allocation in the Texas school system influences equity and will contribute to national policy discussions around access to highly qualified, effective educators.

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