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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 (updated Summer 2021)

Archive Guidance and Resources


OSSE, Division of Teaching and Learning

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