White House pushing education 'equity plans'

The Obama administration will unveil a new education initiative on Monday designed to ensure that all students, regardless of their race or their family's income, have access to effective teachers.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan will launch The Excellent Educators for All Initiative, and will join President Obama and a group of teachers for lunch at the White House to discuss the program, according to a White House official.

“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. We have to do better,” Duncan said in a statement Monday. 

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Research suggests low-income students usually have teachers with “less experience, credentials and a track record of success,” the administration said, adding that it won’t wait for Congress to assist vulnerable children and their families.

As part of the initiative, the Department of Education will ask states to analyze their data and consult with teachers, school administrators and parents to create “equity plans” to guarantee all students have effective educators.

The administration said all chief state school officers should receive a letter from Duncan on Monday asking that they submit their plans by April 2015. To help districts develop and implement their plans, the administration said it plans to invest $4.3 million to launch a new technical assistance network.

The department will also publish “Educator Equity” profiles this fall to help states identify gaps to quality teaching for minority and low-income students. 

The new initiative is one of many Duncan has launched, as head of the agency, to help minimize gaps among minorities in the education system.