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Equitable Access to Excellent Educators

Effective teachers have an enormous impact on the lives of students. Research shows that teachers are the most important “within-school” influence on student achievement. As such, ensuring student access to effective teachers can potentially a powerful tool in addressing the achievement gap. Without equitable access to great teachers and leaders for all students, any education reform effort will be unsuccessful.

Unfortunately, across the United States, many education systems have persistent teacher equity gaps, in which low income or minority students are more likely to be assigned to ineffective, novice, and out-of-field teachers.

DC is at the forefront of innovation and rigor in developing policies to improve teacher quality. Yet even as the average level of instruction and student achievement has improved, there continue to be gaps in students’ access to effective teachers, particularly for students of high poverty and minority students. Data released in 2013 revealed that schools in the District’s Wards 7 and 8, which serve the highest proportions of students in poverty, have significantly less access to highly effective teachers than schools in the more affluent wards in DC.

To ensure that all children receive a high-quality education, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires state education agencies (SEAs) and local education agencies (LEAs) to report on and work to close teacher equity gaps. Thus, LEAs and SEAs must work together to identify and address any disparities that result from low-income and minority students being served disproportionately by ineffective, out-of-field, or inexperienced teachers. LEA plans must address how the LEAs will work to address these disparities where they exist.

Download the DC Equitable Access Plan

OSSE Guidance and Rubrics (updated spring 2019)

Supports and Resources for LEAs

District of Columbia LEA Equity Toolkit: Overview

To support District of Columbia LEAs in better understanding and addressing the challenges they face in providing equitable access to excellent teachers, OSSE has developed the District of Columbia Teacher Equity Toolkit, in partnership with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders.

The DC Equity Toolkit provides LEA and school leaders with a series of optional resources for understanding, interpreting, planning, and collaborating around teacher equity. It applies national research and best practices around SEA and LEA equitable access work, bringing lessons from the field to the local DC education and policy context.

Each resource in the toolkit is aligned to OSSE’s 2018 Equity Plan Template and Related Guidance. It is our hope that the toolkit will:

  1. Guide and assist LEAs in building impactful equity plans
  2. Support the alignment of equity efforts and LEA planning
  3. Contribute to increasing equitable access to excellent educators

Equity Toolkit: Resources


Technical Assistance

Please reach out to any of the contacts listed at the bottom of this page for the following types of technical assistance:

  • Plan Building Support
  • Data Support


OSSE, Division of Teaching and Learning

Data Staffing Collaborative

  • [PDF] This document is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing.