Sunday, November 15, 2009

RTTT, teacher distribution, and Kentucky pride

Nationwide, we have a deep problem with poor and minority students being the most likely to end up with weak teachers.

There's an obvious starting reason for that. Nationwide, EdTrust reports that, on average:
  • High-poverty districts have $773 less to spend per pupil than low-poverty districts.
  • High-minority districts have $1,122 less per pupil than low-minority districts.
Kentucky, however, doesn't do it that way. Here, on average:
  • High-poverty districts have $906 more per pupil.
  • High minority districts have an average of $234 more per pupil.
The Race to the Top application asks what our state is doing to ensure equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals to schools where many students come from low-income homes or minority backgrounds.

I respectfully submit that our answer should begin with a proud description of our statewide commitment to the equitable funding that is an obvious precondition for any sort of equitable staffing. We should describe the SEEK formula, its impact across the state, our long history of increasing the guarantee every year until this one, and the tremendous commitment involved in maintaining the guarantee even in this most difficult budget year in decades.

It's not enough to solve the teaching quality challenges, but Kentucky's school funding method is more than most states even dream of doing.

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