2016-17 State of Education in Tennessee - Page 50

DRIVE TOWARD EXCELLENCE AND EQUITY FOR ALL TENNESSEE STUDENTS — ESPECIALLY UNDERSERVED STUDENTS
Although Tennessee has made progress in closing some achievement gaps , the state has far to go to ensure both excellence and equity for all Tennessee students regardless of income , race , geographic location , or student need . To provide every student an education that prepares him or her for postsecondary education and the workforce , Tennessee must honestly tackle the persistent and urgent challenges faced by underserved students — students of color , economically disadvantaged students , and students with disabilities or who are English learners .
This work begins with expanding access to highly effective and diverse teachers . As noted earlier in this report , historically underserved students in Tennessee tend to be placed with less-effective teachers , when these students have the greatest need for strong instruction . To address this inequity , school districts should make use of human capital data reports for developing compensation strategies , including differentiated pay plans that help recruit and retain highly effective teachers in high-needs schools . Stronger collaboration between educator preparation providers and school districts should include explicit plans focused on ensuring that preparation programs are training enough teaching candidates who are prepared to teach hard-to-staff subjects and in highneeds schools .
DRIVE EXCELLENCE AND EQUITY :
Expand access to highly effective and diverse teachers
Capitalize on opportunities in ESSA to serve all students
Ensure all students have access to rigorous early postsecondary and career opportunities
Increase employer participation in student career readiness
A more racially and ethnically diverse population in the state ’ s teaching pipeline will be an essential component of this work . Tennessee , led by TDOE and supported by the state ’ s educator preparation programs , should set a specific and bold goal in 2017 to increase the percentage of teachers of color in the state . This work should be coupled with additional supports in preparation programs for teaching candidates of color , as well as supports in schools and districts for earlycareer teachers of color .
Next , Tennessee must capitalize on opportunities in ESSA to develop and deliver an accountability system that serves all students ’ needs . Tennessee ’ s new accountability system should build on the strengths of the current district-focused accountability system , extending its impact to the school level . This step means measuring school performance by both student proficiency and growth , focusing on closing achievement gaps between student subgroups — including English learners — and having meaningful ,
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