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Equitable Distribution of Teachers



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.

·  Moving Toward Equity:  Equitable Access Toolkit

·  Colorado’s Equity Plan and Resources for Districts

·  ESEA Virtual Academy

·  Self-Assessment for Healthy Human Capital Systems

·  Colorado District Data


The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires local education agencies (LEAs) that accept Title I, Part A funds to submit a plan to the state education agency (SEA) which addresses any disparities in the rates at which low-income and minority students are taught by inexperienced, out-of-field, and ineffective teachers.

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) monitors these students’ access to educators using data collected through the annual Human Resources Snapshot in Data Pipeline.


The LEA plan required by ESSA will be collected in the Consolidated Application beginning in the 2017-18 school year.  A question related to the educator equity requirement will only populate in the Consolidated Application for those LEAs in which CDE has determined (see FAQ section below for a description of how CDE makes this determination) that low-income and/or minority students are being taught at disproportionate rates by inexperienced, out-of-field, and/or ineffective teachers.  The LEA will have the option to indicate their use of the Unified Improvement Plan (UIP) to meet the requirement in the Consolidated Application if it meets requirements under the ESSA.  LEAs should note that ESSA added the term ‘ineffective’ to this requirement and therefore an update to the existing plan in the UIP may be required.


Under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2002, LEAs were required to have a plan for ensuring low-income and minority students were not taught at disproportionate rates by inexperienced, out-of-field, and unqualified teachers.  This plan has been collected in the UIP.  In order to meet this requirement in the UIP, LEAs were previously instructed to use the data published in Data Center to identify any disparities between their schools.  When a disparity was identified, the LEA was required to include a plan to address it was required in the UIP.

LEAs may continue to address this planning requirement in the UIP or they may choose to create a stand-alone plan in the Consolidated Application.  The LEA is no longer required to identify disproportionate rates in a local analysis as CDE will be publicly posting the applicable data for all LEAs, and will also pre-populate the Consolidated Application with this data to inform LEAs from whom a plan is required.  The LEA may conduct a more in depth analysis if appropriate.  A quality plan will identify the root causes of inequitable distribution of teachers and evidence-based strategies that are likely to eliminate these root causes.


How does CDE determine if a disparity exists?

Colorado schools are organized into quartiles based on the percentage of low-income and minority students in their demographics.  Using data collected through the annual Human Resources Snapshot in Data Pipeline, CDE then identifies the percentage of inexperienced, out-of-field, and ineffective teachers in each of the schools.  These percentages are compared between the schools in the highest and lowest low-income and minority quartiles.  If the percentage of inexperienced, out-of-field, or ineffective teachers in the high quartiles in an LEA are greater than those in the low quartiles, a disparity is determined to exist.  If an LEA does not have schools that fall into the lowest quartile based on percentage of low-income or minority students, then statewide averages in each category are used.  Gaps are only identified in LEAs with more than one school per grade span (elementary, middle, high) so that this process does not over-identify gaps in systems with small n sizes. 

How are these terms defined?

  • Low-income student is defined as a student receiving free or reduced cost lunch.


  • Minority is comprised of all non-white subgroups of students in Colorado.


  • An ineffective teacher has received an annual evaluation based on Colorado’s Educator Quality Standards that results in a rating of Ineffective or Partially Effective. For more information, please see the User’s Guide.


  • An out-of-field teacher through the 2016-17 school year has been defined as a teacher who has not met the subject matter competency requirements to be considered highly qualified under NCLB.  This definition was used to identify the rates for the 2017-18 Consolidated Application.  Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, a teacher will be determined to be out-of-field if they do not hold at least one of the following in the subject area in which they have been assigned to teach:
    • Endorsement on a Colorado teaching license
    • Degree (B.A. or higher)
    • 36 semester credit hours
    • Passing score on an approved content exam


  • An inexperienced teacher is defined as a teacher who has 0-2 years of experience teaching in a K-12 educational setting.


The number of semester credit hours required in the definition that was included in the draft ESSA plan was 24.  When did this change?

The State Board of Education approved a motion to change 24 semester credit hours to 36 at the March 9 meeting.  The draft plan, which was posted on February 9, had to remain posted for a 30 day period before we could make any changes to the final version. 



Must teachers now have 36 semester credit hours to qualify for a subject area endorsement on their teaching license?

No.  The definition of in-field is used only for federal reporting purposes and does not affect Colorado statute or rule related to teacher licensure.  Endorsement requirements are detailed on the website page for the Office of Educator Preparation, Licensing, and Enforcement.  For more detailed information on teacher qualification requirements under ESSA, please see the Teacher Qualifications quick reference.


Must an LEA address disparities by transferring teachers across schools?

No.  The LEA is encouraged to consider strategies that are appropriate in the context of local policy and
Colorado law.  The ultimate goal of the plan should be for low-income and minority students to have increased access to teachers that are capable of meeting their learning needs so that they have equitable opportunity to graduate college and career ready.  Support and retention strategies such as job embedded professional learning and career pathways initiatives are encouraged.


What level of detail is expected in the plan?

CDE has provided suggested response guidance for all LEA plan narrative questions.  The elements in this guidance should be taken into consideration as applicable to the LEA’s local context.



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