Department of Education launches plan to attract good teachers to high-poverty schools

BY Kimberly Hefling, Associated Press  July 7, 2014 at 10:01 AM EDT

Photo by Flickr user Thomas Favre-Bulle

Photo by Flickr user Thomas Favre-Bulle

WASHINGTON — The Education Department on Monday announced a new initiative to attract quality teachers to the schools that need them most.

As part of the initiative, the Education Department said it will ask states to develop new, comprehensive educator equity plans. It is also investing $4.2 million to start a new technical assistance network to help states and districts create and implement their plans.

President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are scheduled to lunch with teachers Monday at the White House to discuss the issue. Duncan will also participate later Monday in a discussion on the topic with teachers and principals.

“Despite the excellent work and deep commitment of our nation’s teachers and principals, systemic inequities exist that shortchange students in high-poverty, high-minority schools across our country,” Duncan said in a statement.

Black and American Indian students are four times as likely as their white peers to go to a school where more than 20 percent of teachers are in their first year, according to Education Department statistics. The same data show that Latino students are three times as likely.