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Committee Seeks Details on Administration’s 50-State Strategy

Dear Secretary Duncan:

In recent press interviews, you and your staff have confirmed the development of a "50-state strategy" on teacher equity. Specifically, Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education Deb Delisle said states will be required to update their 'highly qualified teacher' plans, noting the department's Office of Civil Rights plans to use its enforcement authority to ensure disadvantaged students have access to highly effective teachers. This announcement came after the department abandoned a previous proposal requiring states link teacher evaluation and distribution systems in exchange for continued relief from No Child Left Behind under the administration's controversial waiver scheme.

Research shows teacher quality is one of the most important factors in raising student achievement. However, implementing a "50-state strategy" could impose significant new requirements on states and school districts, potentially undermining local efforts to increase teacher effectiveness. In addition, the department's heavy-handed approach to federal enforcement ignores the effects of teacher equity efforts on state and local teacher transfer policies and recruitment and retention efforts.

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