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'Equal' Access = More Paper, More Spending

classroom_2We could sit around for days, weeks, months…coming up with ideas on how to “ensure that poor and minority students are not taught at higher rates than other children by inexperienced, unqualified, or out-of-field teachers.” The problem is how to implement the plan if people don’t want to teach in low-performing schools.

The Obama administration will announce plans today to enforce–or at least try–a part of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law that so far hasn’t been enforced. NCLB penalizes or rewards schools based on standardized test scores. The law also requires all students to have “equal” access to good teachers. An excerpt:

There are three parts to the effort: By April 2015, states must submit “comprehensive educator equity plans” that detail how they plan to put “effective educators” in front of poor and minority kids. To help states write the plans, the Education Department will create a $4.2 million “Education Equity Support Network.” And this fall, the Education Department will publish “Educator Equity profiles” that highlight which states and districts fare well or poorly on teacher equity.

It’s not yet clear, though, exactly how the department will hold states accountable for all this planning — and ultimately produce changes in classrooms. The department’s initial press release on the effort also did not specify how it will define “effective” teachers.

How will the government enforce a “teacher equity requirement” if the teachers don’t want to teach in certain schools? Bureaucrats will direct millions of dollars into yet another program that will yield little result. But I guess spending other people’s money and shuffling papers makes them feel good.

Is school choice the answer? It will help children get closer to the goal of what’s considered a quality education. With school vouchers, parents can choose a government or private school for their children.

Photo credit: Bart Everson (Creative Commons) – Some Rights Reserved

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