By: Krystle Crossman
Low-income minority students are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to the schools that they are enrolled in. Low-income areas often do not have a lot of funding for schools and have a hard time finding high-quality teachers as a result. They cannot pay as much as a high-income school and therefore many of the teachers that have numerous degrees choose to work for schools that will be able to pay them better. This is not to say that all high-quality teachers do this however the ratio of high-quality teachers to new and inexperienced teachers is definitely different in the low-income areas.
When children get teachers that are less-than-qualified it is like their education is being taken away from them. They won’t get to learn the lessons that their peers in the higher income schools will learn. They will not do as well on state mandated tests and could end up staying back a grade or two because of this. The teachers may not push them as much as they should to achieve and use their full potential on assignments. This often does not set these students up for a successful life after graduation.
The Obama administration has come up with an initiative for all school districts called Excellent Educators for All. They send a letter to each of the districts and let them know where there are discrepancies of quality educators within the district. They then suggest how the teachers can be more evenly distributed throughout the schools so that everyone has the same number of quality teachers that they learn from. Data showed that a much larger number of new teachers that did not have much experience were sent to areas that were of a lower income while the more experienced teachers were sent to the well-off schools. Excellent Educators for All is set to mandate that states distribute the experienced teachers evenly through all schools, no matter the income level so that all students have access to high-quality teachers.
Alaska, Mississippi, and Missouri were the three states where the gap between high-quality and inexperienced teachers was the largest. Alaska came in with a 9% difference, Mississippi had a 6% difference and Missouri had a 5% difference. The gaps in experienced versus non-experienced teachers in high-minority and low-minority students were significant as well.