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New report from New America helps states “think big” on educator quality

New America today released a report – Painting the ESSA Canvas: Four Ideas for States to Think Big on Educator Quality – designed to help states think through the significant flexibility that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) grants with regards to Title II funding.

Part A of Title II is focused on “preparing, training, and recruiting high-quality teachers, principals, or other school leaders,” according to the report, and ESSA includes many new uses of state funds to support that goal. This “create[s] a space to employ innovative and evidence-based strategies for improving educator quality in our elementary and secondary schools,” Melissa Tooley, New America’s director of educator quality, writes in the report’s introduction.

Tooley continues:

Under the previous iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, No Child Left Behind, states could mostly “paint by number,” but ESSA has given states more of a blank canvas. The allowable uses of Title II-A are broad and provide far more flexibility for states to determine their own courses of action.

The report includes interviews with four experts in educator-quality policy – including our own Benjamin Riley – about how and where states can, in the report’s words, “think big” in using Title II-A funds to support four key areas: educator preparation; educator recruitment and retention; educator evaluation and support systems; and comprehensive professional learning systems.

Painting the ESSA Canvas is full of thoughtful, innovative ideas that states can use to improve educator quality – we encourage you to check it out.


Charis Anderson

Senior Director of Communications


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