Equitable Distribution of Teachers: ESSA Requirements
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), requires state education agencies (SEAs) to evaluate annually whether low-income and minority students are taught disproportionately by ineffective, out-of-field, or inexperienced teachers compared to their higher-income, non-minority peers. ESSA also requires local education agencies (LEAs) accepting Title I-A funds to submit plans to address any such disparities.
This guidance explains how the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) compiles and evaluates Equitable Distribution of Teachers (EDT) data and provides guidance to support LEAs to meet statutory requirements. This document also highlights strategies and funding opportunities LEAs may use to address EDT gaps.
The following resources are available to assist LEAs as they develop, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of their plans for improving equitable access to excellent teachers.
- EDT One-Page Overview (PDF)
- Explanation of EDT Analysis (PDF)
- Engaging Stakeholders Presentation Template (PPT)
- Meeting ESSA EDT Requirements (PDF)
- ESSA State Plan – See Section 5.3 Educator Equity (PDF)
- Moving Toward Equity: Equitable Access Toolkit
- Colorado’s Equity Plan and Resources for Districts
- Self-Assessment for Healthy Human Capital Systems
- Colorado District Data
EDT Analysis and Reporting
CDE’s Federal Programs Unit annually conducts two EDT analyses. The first looks at distribution of teachers by student poverty rates; the second by minority students enrolled. Small LEAs (enrollment less than 1,000 or no more than one school per grade span) are exempt from these analyses. Calculations are based on data LEAs submit through the Human Resources and December Count collections. Only full-time equivalent (FTE) data for teachers of core courses are included in EDT analyses.
CDE compares data of the district’s first quartile (highest poverty or minority) schools to its fourth quartile (lowest poverty or minority) schools to identify any gaps in percentage of effective, in-field, and experienced core-course FTE (see definitions in Table 1 below). If a district has schools in the highest poverty/minority quartile, but not in the corresponding lowest, the highest quartile percentages are compared to the State’s lowest quartile percentages. Analyses are conducted separately for each indicator of teacher quality (effective, in-field, and experienced) for poverty and minority quartiles. This results in six possible data points for each district (see sample data in Table 2 below). Each LEA is provided EDT results at the district and school level to address any identified disparities. When an inequitable distribution is identified, a percentage point gap is reported and highlighted in red.
Colorado’s ESSA State Plan defines ineffective, out-of-field, and inexperienced as follows:
Teacher’s evaluation rating, based on Colorado’s Educator Quality Standards, is Ineffective or Partially Effective. Half of this rating is based on professional practices; half is based on measures of student learning/outcomes.
Teachers without at least one of the following, in the subject they teach:
Teachers with less than 3 full years of K-12 teaching experience (regardless of State).
Table 2. Sample District EDT Results
Note on this table: Where results are provided under “Q4-Q1 difference” column, and highlighted in red, an EDT gap was identified. Where no number is provided, e.g., “ – “, the LEA had no schools that fell into that quartile. As indicated above, if the LEA has schools in the highest poverty or minority quartile (Q1), but no schools in the lowest poverty or minority quartile (Q4), the LEA Q1 schools are compared to the state percentage for Q4. If an LEA has no schools in Q1 for poverty or minority, that LEA does not receive an EDT result – this situation is demonstrated in the table for “Minority”.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are districts required to submit any data to CDE for these analyses?
CDE’s Federal Programs Unit uses data captured through the Human Resources and October Count collections. No additional data are required.
How are the EDT analyses calculated, specifically?
CDE has posted an explanation of the EDT analysis methodology on the CDE Federal Programs website.
When are EDT analyses conducted and results disseminated?
All necessary data become available after April of each year. Allowing time for analyses and validation, results typically will be available by mid-May.
How are data made available?
CDE publicly reports LEA-level results, and shares school-level data with LEAs through a secure file transfer system. This process protects any personally identifiable information (PII) that could be extrapolated from school-level data.
Are districts required to conduct their own EDT analysis?
Districts are not required to perform local EDT analyses. CDE will disseminate EDT results for districts that have more than one school per grade-span (elementary, middle, high) or more than 1,000 students enrolled. Smaller LEAs can request EDT results to inform their comprehensive needs assessment and help them reflect on how human capital factors may contribute to student performance challenges.
Are districts recommended to conduct their own analyses?
Because CDE completes EDT analyses towards the end of a given school year (e.g., EDT results for SY2018-19 are released around May 2019), LEAs may want to conduct their own analyses earlier to allow for current-school year planning and action steps.
How do I engage local stakeholders to address EDT results?
Districts identified with educator equity gaps can empower district leadership, school leaders, teachers, parents and families, and community stakeholders with EDT information to inform planning efforts. Stakeholders should be informed that EDT analyses are required under ESSA to ensure equitable student access to effective, in-field, and experienced educators. To protect PII, districts are encouraged to apply data protection practices. CDE recommends sharing:
- Percentages, not numbers. For example, “4% of FTE in high poverty schools are out-of-field,” rather than “6 FTE in high poverty schools are out-of-field.”
- Data in ranges. For example, “3%-6% of FTE teachers in high poverty schools are out-of-field.”
A PowerPoint template for LEAs to use when engaging stakeholders on EDT is available on the Federal Programs website.
When informed of educator equity gaps, stakeholders are better positioned to provide input on prioritizing challenges and developing solutions to fit local context. Districts can use EDT results to facilitate conversations with stakeholders about what gaps are occurring (educator effectiveness, in-field status, or experience), in which schools (highest poverty, minority, or both), and potential causes. Districts should utilize Teaching and Learning Conditions in Colorado (TLCC) survey responses to understand educators’ perceptions of working conditions, leadership, and where applicable, reasons for leaving schools.
Does any identified disproportionality require a plan?
Yes. According to ESSA, any identified disproportionality constitutes grounds for developing a plan to address inequitable student access to effective, in-field, and experienced teachers and excellent school leaders.
How do I know if an EDT gap is significant, relative to gaps in other Colorado districts?
CDE is developing a process to make EDT gap size more actionable and afford LEAs more flexibility.
Where do I submit my educator equity plan?
Currently, this plan is captured in the Consolidated Application for Federal funds (Title I, Question #4). Consolidated applications are due by June 30th each year. If the June 30th deadline cannot be met, gaps must be addressed within the subsequent school year. CDE is gathering stakeholder input regarding the most appropriate way to collect plans.
Are districts required to reassign teachers to different classrooms or schools to address EDT findings?
Districts with educator equity gaps may elect to make staffing changes to address disparities. However, reassigning teachers is not a requirement under ESSA, and may not address the root causes of this human capital issue. LEAs are encouraged to approach EDT issues collaboratively with stakeholders to develop plans that address compensation systems, hiring practices, educator supports, and working conditions. Plans may include a variety of strategies and supports.
What should be considered when developing a plan to address EDT results?
ESSA requires that districts develop and submit a plan to address any identified disparities in student access to experienced, in-field, and effective educators. CDE encourages districts with identified gaps to consider leading factors that influence teacher recruitment and retention when developing a plan to increase equitable access to educators:
- Salaries and other forms of compensation.
- Preparation and costs to entry.
- Hiring and personnel management.
- Induction for new teachers.
- Working conditions: Supports for all teachers.
(For more information on leading factors, research, and example district practices, please view the printable version of this resource and the table starting on page 4)
How can ESEA funds be leveraged to address gaps identified through EDT analyses?
In addition to using other ESEA program funds and state grants, LEAs can leverage Title II-A funds to address EDT gaps. As explicitly stated in the preamble to ESEA Title II, “The purpose of this title is to provide …subgrants to local educational agencies to…provide low-income and minority students greater access to effective teachers, principals, and other school leaders.” Specifically, Title II prioritizes funding for Comprehensive or Targeted Support schools, as well as those with the highest poverty rates.
When developing the application for use of Title II funds, LEAs are required to meaningfully consult with teachers, principals, other school leaders, paraprofessionals, specialized instructional support personnel, parents, community partners, and other organizations or partners.In addition, ESSA requires LEAs evaluate comprehensive programs supported through Title II funding.
Allowable uses of Title II funds include, but are not limited to:
- Implementing differential and incentive pay for teachers in high-need schools and subject areas, and specialty areas (e.g., serving ELs and SWDs), which may include performance-based compensation.
- Developing pathways for educator advancement and professional growth, with an emphasis on leadership opportunities, which may include hybrid teacher/leader and leadership positions, multiple career paths, pay differentiation and incentives for effective educators to receive additional certifications in high-need areas.
- Creating educator induction or mentoring programs to improve classroom instruction and student learning and achievement, and increase the retention of new and effective educators.
- Developing and providing training for school leaders, coaches, mentors, and evaluators on accurately differentiating performance, providing useful feedback, and using evaluation results to inform decision-making about professional development, improvement strategies, and personnel decisions.
- Developing feedback mechanisms to improve working conditions in schools, including periodic and public reporting of educator support and working conditions feedback.
What State resources are available to help attract and retain experienced, effective, and in-field teachers?
Districts experiencing teacher shortages may also leverage competitive grants developed by the Colorado State Legislature to attract, retain, and grow effective teachers. Small districts, in particular, may benefit from these grant opportunities.