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Coalition for Teaching Quality Submits Commentary on HQT Data Collection

Tomorrow, April 18, is the deadline for public comment on the proposed “highly qualified teacher” (HQT) data collection by the U.S. Department of Education. A detailed letter submitted yesterday by the Coalition for Teaching Quality hails the proposed collection as “an important first step towards meeting the legislative intent” of Congress’ directive to report on the extent to which students in certain high-need categories are taught by teachers who are labeled as “highly qualified,” but who are actually teachers-in-training in alternative routes. 

In addition to supporting the need for the data collection (and chiding the Department for missing the December 2013 deadline to comply with the law), the Coalition’s letter urges improvements to its design and for the required report from the secretary of education:

  1. Make the data provided in the secretary’s report transparent and broadly accessible to parents and the public through a searchable database that provides both state-level and LEA-level data, both of which are required under the statute.
  2. The secretary’s report must provide critical contextual information in order to make the data useful and meaningful.
  3. The law requires the Department to report student-level data, not teacher-level data as the Department has proposed.
  4. The use of district-level (rather than school-level) rural and low-income data does not adequately address the requirements of the law.
  5. The Department’s proposed low-income criteria will leave many students out.
  6. The data collection should cover online schools and other alternative public schools.

AACTE is a founding member of the Coalition, which includes 95 other organizations representing civil rights, disability interests, parents, educators, and more. The Coalition’s creation was inspired by students and families from low-income communities in California who went to court seeking transparency and equity in teacher quality for their schools and students. For the last 3 years, the Coalition has worked to promote teacher equity for all students, including those with disabilities, those in rural areas, English learners, minorities, and those in low-income communities. Members of the Coalition meet regularly in Washington, DC, and engage with Congress, the White House, and the Department of Education in pursuit of teaching equity.

If you are a member of another organization that might like to join the Coalition, or if you would like additional information, visit http://coalitionforteachingquality.org.

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Jane E. West

AACTE Education Policy Consultant