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Not Prepared for Class: High-Poverty Schools Continue to Have Fewer In-Field Teachers

Abstract

"Nearly a decade after adoption of the No Child Left Behind Act, students in high-poverty schools are still more likely than those in wealthier schools to be taught by inexperienced or out-of-field teachers, a report by the Education Trust says.

One aim of the federal legislation, which was passed in 2001 and signed into law in January 2002, was to ensure that all students were taught by highly qualified teachers. While schools have made "significant progress" in that area, the Washington-based research and advocacy group argues that educators still have far to go. In core academic courses in high school, for example, students in high-poverty schools are nearly twice as likely to be taught by out-of-field teachers as those in low-poverty schools.

Surprisingly, the report says the problem is worst in the suburbs. One-quarter of the core classes in high-poverty suburban schools are taught by out-of-field teachers, compared with the national average of 15.6 percent."

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