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Equitable Access to Excellent Educators

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) requires State educational agencies (SEAs) and local education agencies (LEAs) to consider the rates at which low-income and minority students have access to excellent educators. This webpage contains information about these ESEA requirements, work that States and districts have done to date to address disproportionate access, and resources to support States in ensuring access to excellent educators for all students.

If you have questions about any information on this page, please contact OSS.TechnicalAssistance@ed.gov or your State contact in the Office of State Support.


Educator Equity: An Overview

Educator Equity under the Every Student Succeeds Act

ESEA, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, requires SEAs and LEAs to address whether low-income and minority students served by Title I, Part A are taught at disproportionate rates by ineffective, out-of-field, or inexperienced educators to compared to their peers. More specifically, the law requires each SEA receiving a Title I, Part A grant to describe in its ESSA State plan:

  • “how low-income and minority children enrolled in schools assisted under this part are not served at disproportionate rates by ineffective, out-of-field, or inexperienced teachers,” and
  • “the measures the [SEA] will use to evaluate and publicly report the progress of the [SEA]” in addressing any disproportionality. (ESEA Section 1111(g)(1)(B))

Further, the ESEA requires each LEA receiving Title I, Part A subgrant to submit plans that include a description of “how the [LEA] will identify and address . . . any disparities that result in low-income students and minority students being taught at higher rates than other students by ineffective, inexperienced, or out-of-field teachers.” (ESEA Section 1112(b)(2))

Finally, the ESEA explicitly indicates that SEAs (ESEA Section 2101(c)(4)(B)(iii)) and LEAs (ESEA Section 2103(b)(3)(B)) may use Title II, Part A funds to address identified disparities in access to excellent teachers.

ESSA incorporates many the of equitable access requirements from earlier authorizations of the ESEA. The next section of this page provides additional information about educator equity plans and requirements under the ESEA, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).

Educator Equity under the No Child Left Behind Act

Under the ESEA, as amended by the NCLB, every SEA that received a Title I, Part A grant was required to submit to the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) an educator equity plan describing the steps the SEA would take to ensure that poor and minority students were not taught at higher rates than other students by inexperienced, unqualified, or out-of-field teachers and the measures that each SEA would use to evaluate and publicly report its progress in closing the equity gaps identified in its educator equity plans.

The Department required States to submit educator equity plans twice under NCLB: once in 2006 and, most recently, in 2015 and as part of the Excellent Educators for All initiative.

In July 2014, the Department launched the Excellent Educators for All initiative, which was “designed to move America toward the day when every student in every public school is taught by excellent educators.” This initiative had three major components:

  • Educator equity data. To support States in the development of their respective 2015 educator equity plans, the Department, in November 2014, provided to each State (i) an educator equity profile, which provided an analysis of State-specific data, and (ii) data files, which contained State-specific data from the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) and other Department-managed data sets.
  • Equity Plans. The Department released Frequently Asked Questions to inform States’ submission of educator equity plans. All States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico submitted and had approved educator equity plans in 2015.
  • Equitable Access Support Network. In late 2014, the Department launched the Equitable Access Support Network (EASN), a technical assistance network designed to support States in the drafting and implementation of their educator equity plans.

Each of these resources, including States’ approved 2015 educator equity plans, is available on the Department’s Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies (Title I, Part A) webpage. Learn more about technical assistance resources available to States below.

The resources below are designed to help SEAs and LEAs in the development, implementation, and continuous improvement of their respective educator equity plans. If you require any assistance accessing any of these resources (or do not see a resource responsive to your needs), please contact your State contact in the Office of State Support


Educator Equity Resources

    download files

    State Strategies for Engaging Stakeholders in Equity Planning and Beyond

    The EASN’s Stakeholder Engagement Community of Practice hosted a webinar on April 29, 2015 to review State strategies for communicating and engaging stakeholders about ensuring equitable access to excellent educators. The webinar featured partners from the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders and State representatives from Delaware, Georgia, and North Dakota, who shared strategies for of actively and authentically engaging a wide-range of stakeholder groups in the development and implementation of educator equity plans.

    download files

    Social Media Tips Sheet


    The Social Media Tips Sheet, developed by the EASN, provides strategies to assist SEA staff in using social media to communicate with and engage stakeholders regarding the development and implementation of educator equity plans.

    download files

    Equity Plan Implementation Readiness Assessment


    This resource, published by the EASN, serves as a comprehensive, yet concise, self-assessment for States to use to gauge their readiness to implement the reforms outlined in their respective educator equity plans.

    download files

    Promoting More Equitable Access to Effective Teachers: Problems and Root Causes

    This brief, from the Reform Support Network, explains why inequitable access to effective teachers is a problem in many States and districts and why it can be so challenging to bring excellent teachers to all classrooms. The resource should be paired with another Reform Support Network publication entitled Promoting More Equitable Access to Effective Teachers: Strategic Options for States to Improve Placement and Movement.

    download files

    State Experiences Drafting Equity Plans

    The EASN’s Policy and Programs Community of Practice hosted a webinar during which attendees heard lessons learned from an early cohort of SEAs that developed educator equity plans. The webinar featured State representatives from Missouri and Tennessee, who discussed their respective processes for conducting root cause analyses and identifying strategies to address gaps in access.

    download files

    GTL's Equitable Access Toolkit

    The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders developed this toolkit to help SEAs create strategic, data-based educator equity plans. The Equitable Access Toolkit features a stakeholder engagement guide, a root-cause analysis workbook, and a data review tool.

    download files

    GTL's Implementation Playbook

    The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders developed this toolkit to help States successfully implement their educator equity plans. The Implementation Playbook includes a planning tool, a communication guide, a policy coherence and alignment guide, and a tool for monitoring implementation progress.

    download files

    Equity Data Analysis: Getting Started on the Right Foot

    This webinar from the EASN’s Data Use and Analysis Community of Practice featured promising practices for conducting data analyses for the purposes of drafting educator equity plans. This webinar featured insights from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the State Longitudinal Data Systems Support Team, and the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders.

    download files

    Choosing Measures of Effective Educators: Delaware’s Approach

    This webinar from the EASN's Data Use and Analysis Community of Practice spotlighted Delaware’s work to consider educator effectiveness measures in its educator equity plan data analysis. The webinar also featured a presentation from partners at Harvard University's Center for Education Policy Research on the teacher effectiveness measures that correlate directly to student achievement.

    download files

    Visualizing Equity Gaps: Examples from Oklahoma and Tennessee

    This webinar form the EASN’s Data Use and Analysis Community of Practice demonstrated different methods for visualizing equity gaps. The webinar featured State representatives from Oklahoma and Tennessee, who modeled how their States used data visualizations to guide their equity planning efforts.

    download files

    Implementation Tips Sheet #1: Setting Equity Goals

    Developed by the EASN Data Use and Analysis Community of Practice, this tips sheet is the first in a three-part series and can be used to help States clarify their theories about why equity gaps exist and why particular strategies may work better than others to close the gaps.

    download files

    Implementation Tips Sheet #2: Identifying Metrics to Track Progress

    Developed by the EASN Data Use and Analysis Community of Practice, this tips sheet is the second in a three-part series and describes the relationship between goals and metrics in the context of educator equity plans. It also outlines a process that States can use to develop a set of metrics for a given goal.

    download files

    Implementation Tips Sheet #3: Collecting, Analyzing, and Responding to Data


    Developed by the EASN Data Use and Analysis Community of Practice, this tips sheet is the third in a three-part series and describes a process that States can use to collect, analyze, and respond to data related to their educator equity goals.

    download files

    AEM’s Logic Model Toolkit: Quick Reference Guide & Annotated Logic Model Template


    AEM’s Logic Model Toolkit offers a step-by-step approach to creating logic models. It contains two components: (i) a Logic Model Quick Reference Guide that provides essential information needed to create high-quality logic models, and (ii) an Annotated Logic Model Template that offers a basic structure and instructions for developing logic models.

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    Logic Models: A Tool for Effective Program Planning, Collaboration, and Monitoring


    This guide, published by REL Pacific, describes the role of logic models in effective program planning, collaboration, and monitoring. It explains how the four components of these models—resources, activities, outputs, and outcomes—relate to one another to provide a visual display of a program’s mechanics and structure.

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    State Equity Plan Definitions: Analysis Matrix


    This publication from the EASN features information about the definitions included in the educator equity plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education on June 1, 2015.

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    How SEAs Can Support District-Level Strategies

    This webinar from the EASN’s Policy & Programs Community of Practice details SEA options for supporting LEA efforts to improve placement and movement of effective teachers.

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    Connecting the Dots: A Toolkit for Designing and Leading Equity Labs


    This resource, published by the EASN, provides a step-by-step guide to designing and leading a successful equity lab from start to finish. The resource incorporates insights and tools from the equity labs that Connecticut, Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio held in 2016. The resource should be paired with the EASN webinar entitled Equity Labs: Engaging LEAs in Ensuring Equitable Access to Excellent Educators.

    download files

    Exploring NASBE’s Teacher State Policy Database


    In partnership with the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), this EASN webinar highlights NASBE’s new policy database and explores how the database can be used to advance the implementation of educator equity plans. NASBE’s searchable, sortable database catalogues State policies on both Educator Effectiveness and Student Learning Standards and Assessments.

    download files

    Promoting More Equitable Access to Effective Teachers: Strategic Options for States to Improve Placement and Movement

    This brief, published by the Reform Support Network, outlines strategies States and districts can use to address the issue of inequitable access to effective teachers. The resource should be paired with another Reform Support Network publication entitled Promoting More Equitable Access to Effective Teachers: Problems and Root Causes.

    download files

    Talent Management Strategies: District Self-assessment Checklist


    Using this tool published by the EASN (based on a resource developed by the Rhode Island Department of Education) district teams can both assess the usefulness of their talent management strategies in ensuring equitable access to excellent educators and understand best practices in recruitment, hiring, placement, and retention.

    download files

    Increasing Equitable Access to Excellent Educators: A Talent Management Guide for School Districts

    The EASN published this resource as a companion to its Talent Management Checklist. While the Checklist helped districts uncover the effectiveness of their talent management strategies, he Talent Management Guide provides examples of resources that districts can use to strengthen their respective recruitment, hiring, and placement and retention strategies. The resource should be paired with another EASN toolkit entitled Talent Management Strategies: District Self-Assessment Checklist.

    download files

    Ensuring Access to Excellent Educators in Rural Schools


    The EASN's Rural Access Issues & Support Community of Practice hosted a webinar on implementing strategies to recruit and retain teachers in rural schools and districts. This webinar highlighted promising practices from Alaska, Maine, and Missouri, and featured new findings from a report on rural education from the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.

    download files

    Equity Labs: Engaging LEAs in Ensuring Equitable Access to Excellent Educators


    In this webinar from the EASN, participants heard directly from representatives of the Connecticut State Department of Education and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education about how their States planned and hosted equity labs. During the webinar, the EASN unveiled its Equity Lab Toolkit, which presents a nine-step process States can use to plan and follow through on their equity labs. This resource should be paired with another EASN tool entitled Connecting the Dots: A Toolkit for Designing and Leading Equity Labs.

    download files

    State Policy Responses to Ensuring Excellent Educators in Rural Schools


    This article, published by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire, examines the extent to which rural needs are addressed in the 2015 educator equity plans and details implications for students and State policy. This article is discussed in the webinar entitled Connections & Conversations: Ensuring Equitable Access to Excellent Educators in Rural Schools.


Educator Equity Technical Assistance

The Department and its partners provide technical assistance opportunities for States and LEAs related to the development and implementation of educator equity plans. The information below highlights some of these past and current technical assistance initiatives. For additional information about technical assistance initiatives or organizations, please contact your State contact in the Office of State Support.

The Equitable Access Support Network | December 2014 – April 2017

The Equitable Access Support Network (EASN) was established in 2014 to support States in the development and implementation of their 2015 educator equity plans. Further, after the reauthorization of the ESEA by the ESSA, the EASN supported States in understanding the educator equity requirements of the ESSA.

The EASN developed tools and resources to support State development of educator equity plans. In addition, the EASN provided individualized support and collective technical assistance to all 50 States, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and the Bureau of Indian Education through the following peer-to-peer opportunities:

  • EASN Communities of Practice offered SEAs ongoing opportunities to collaborate with peers and experts through online discussion boards and webinars focused on key topics related to ensuring equitable access to excellent educators, including: Data Use & Analysis, Policy & Programs, Rural Access Issues & Support, and Stakeholder Engagement.
  • EASN Work Groups offered select States short-term opportunities to engage with peers to achieve a shared set of objectives to address common challenges related to the implementation of educator equity plans. EASN work groups included: LEA Equity Planning, Managing for Results, and ESSA Equity Data & Analysis.
  • EASN Webinars provided States access to relevant research and tools developed and shared by EASN Consortium partners to support implementation of educator equity plans.

The EASN concluded its work in June 2017. For additional information about the work of the EASN, please contact OSS.TechnicalAssistance@ed.gov.


Technical Assistance Partners

States seeking support in implementing educator equity provisions may request assistance from a number of technical assistance partners who are members of the Equitable Access Consortium, including:


The Equitable Access Consortium

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of State Support (OSS) and Office of School Support and Rural Programs (SSRP), the Equitable Access Consortium includes the EASN, the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center), Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and other ED-funded technical assistance centers: Regional Educational Laboratories, Regional Comprehensive Centers, and Equity Assistance Centers. Together, these partners support State education agencies SEAs and technical assistance providers with high-quality, responsive, and customized technical assistance as SEAs implement their equitable access plans. For additional information about the work of the Equitable Access Consortium, access the Equitable Access Consortium one-pager.

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Last Modified: 07/18/2017