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Crunching Numbers

Getting Top Teachers Into High-Poverty Schools

September 2006

That's the goal of the Education Trust's recent report, Teaching Inequality.

More classes in high-poverty, high-minority schools are taught by out-of-field teachers. SOURCES: Teaching Inequality, the Education Trust, June 2006; All Talk, No Action, Craig Jerald, 2002
Among the researchers' findings: Children in the highest-poverty schools are assigned to novice teachers almost twice as often as children in low-poverty schools. And students in high-minority schools are assigned to novice teachers at twice the rate as students in schools with few minority students.

The researchers recommend a range of strategies to end the unfair distribution of teacher talent, including scaling back prerogatives that allow experienced teachers to pick their assignments, and identifying effective teachers and paying them more to teach in schools with shortages. And taking a cue from professional sports, start using a "draft strategy" that would allow high-poverty, struggling schools to have the first pick of teaching talent.