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September 28, 2015
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JP O’Hare or Jeanne Beattie

(518) 474-1201


United States Department Of Education Approves New York's Plan To Ensure Equal Access To High Quality Teachers

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today that the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has approved New York’s State Plan to Ensure Equitable Access to Excellent Educators 2014-15. Federal law requires every state to submit a plan to ensure that all students, regardless of race, ethnicity or economic background, have equal access to qualified and experienced teachers. New York is one of only sixteen states whose plan has been approved to date. States that fail to submit an acceptable plan risk having the USDE take corrective action against the state, which could include losing federal dollars.

Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, “We know that nothing matters more to a child’s chances for educational success than the quality of his or her teacher. We also know that too often children of color and children in poverty are taught by new and inexperienced teachers. That’s unfair and it must change. So I was gratified to learn that the United States Department of Education quickly approved our plan to help ensure all kids have access to excellent teachers. Every child has the right to a well-qualified teacher – it’s really that simple.”

New York’s Equity Plan describes the steps the State will take to ensure that students from low-income families and students of color are not taught at higher rates than other children by inexperienced, unqualified, or out-of-field teachers. The plan also describes the measures New York will use to evaluate and publicly report on the progress the State is making to ensure equitable access.

The Department believes that strong preparation programs, meaningful teacher and principal evaluation systems, professional development, and career ladder pathways, implemented as part of a comprehensive talent management system, will ensure equitable access to effective educators and will address achievement gaps.

New York’s plan builds upon the nationally recognized work the State has done through its Strengthening Teacher Leader Effectiveness (STLE) grant program. The STLE competitive grant program   has helped more than 200 districts to develop and begin to implement strategies to integrate teacher evaluations into a coherent system of support for educators throughout their careers. Through collaboration between labor and management, districts and BOCES participating in the STLE grant program developed or enhanced a comprehensive systems approach to continuously meet the needs of schools and students and ensure more equitable access to the most effective educators. Such systems develop programs that focus on various elements of a strategically planned Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (TLE) Continuum, including  preparation, recruitment and placement, induction and mentoring, evaluation, ongoing professional development/professional growth, performance management, and career ladder pathways.

As part of its equity strategy, SED will develop equity profiles, which include metrics that will assist districts and BOCES in examining the state of equity locally and working to ensure that all students have equitable access to the most effective educators.

A copy of New York’s approved plan is available here:



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