April 2017, Vol. 2

Districts receiving Title I funding must address teacher quality disparities

By Zach DiSchiano
 
The upcoming 2017–18 school year will be the first in which all local educational agencies that receive Title I funds must develop a plan for how they will identify and address disparities that result in low-income students and minority students being taught by ineffective, inexperienced, or out-of-field teachers.
 
The rule comes from Federal Title I, Part A Sec. 1112(b)(2) under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This section requires districts receiving Title I funds to create and submit plans by November 1, 2017, detailing how they will improve the quality of teacher to whom low-income and minority students are assigned. The timing of the submission was chosen so that equity plans could be developed in conjunction with a district’s annual improvement planning process.
 
The Title I program provides financial assistance through state educational agencies to local educational agencies and public schools with high numbers or percentages of poor children to help ensure all children meet challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards.
 
The Texas Education Agency has developed a Texas Equity Plan Toolkit to support districts in the process of developing a district equity plan. The toolkit includes the equity plan template that all districts receiving Title I funds will be required to submit and step-by-step directions for completion of each section of the equity plan template, as well as additional resources to support districts throughout the process.
 
The Texas Equity Plan Toolkit can be accessed here.
 
All education service centers (ESCs) have been trained to support districts in the use of the Texas Equity Plan Toolkit and equity plan development. Each ESC has designated an equity plan contact. The contact list is available here.
 
Districts receiving Title I funds also will see changes in the PR1100 in eGrants—the survey that collected information about highly qualified teachers. Though the highly qualified teacher requirement was removed from federal law, the state still must report on state-level equity gaps for out-of-field and inexperienced teachers. To collect this data, the state has created a new form, the PR1500. Districts receiving Title I funds must complete the PR1500 to provide data on out-of-field teachers and teacher years of experience for each campus receiving Title I funds.