Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:
Requirements for Educator Assignment Monitoring under the Every Student Succeeds Act
This letter updates and clarifies the responsibilities of local educational agencies (LEAs) under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to: (a) address equity gaps resulting from low-income and minority students being taught at higher rates than other students by ineffective, inexperienced, or out-of-field teachers by updating their Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Federal Addendums according to new definitions adopted by the State Board of Education and (b) ensure that schools receiving Title I funding inform parents and guardians if their students are being taught for four or more consecutive weeks by a teacher who does not meet applicable state certification or licensure requirements at the grade level and subject area in which the teacher has been assigned.
Every Student Succeeds Act Requirements
ESSA Section 1112(b)(2) requires each LEA receiving ESSA funds to submit a plan to the state educational agency describing how the LEA will identify and address any disparities that result in low-income and minority students being taught at higher rates than other students by ineffective, inexperienced, or out-of-field teachers. These disparities are often referred to as equity gaps. For the 2018-19 school year, the Title I, Part A Educator Equity section of the LCAP Federal Addendum required LEAs to examine their school site level educator and student data to identify disparities, or equity gaps. If gaps were identified, LEAs were required to describe how they engaged stakeholders in a process to identify strategies to address the LEA's equity gaps. Lastly, LEAs were required to describe actions they will take to eliminate any identified disparities. Going forward, LEAs are expected to locally update the section of their LCAP Federal Addendum related to educator equity to reflect updated definitions of "ineffective" and "out-of-field" teachers adopted by the State Board of Education in November 2019.
LEAs that receive Title I, Part A funding must send parent and guardian notifications about teacher qualifications. ESSA sections 1112(e)(1)(A) and (B) state that LEAs receiving Title I, Part A funds shall provide two specific notifications each school year. "Four-Week Letter" notifications are sent if a student has been assigned or has been taught for four or more consecutive weeks by a teacher who does not meet the applicable state certification or licensure requirements at the grade level and subject area in which the teacher has been assigned. In addition, at the beginning of each school year, LEAs shall notify parents and guardians they may request, and the agency will provide on request (and in a timely manner), information regarding the professional qualifications of the student's classroom teachers.
Updated Definitions and Resources
In November 2019, the State Board of Education approved updated definitions for "ineffective" and "out-of-field" teachers. The updated definitions are located on the California Department of Education (COE) Updated Teacher Equity Definitions web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/pd/ee/teacherequitydefinitions.asp.
The CDE has developed the Promoting Equitable Access to Teachers (PEAT) Program to assist LEAs in identifying and addressing local disparities, or equity gaps. PEAT resources are regularly updated and address all relevant topics from data analysis planning to teacher retention strategies. This information can be found on the COE PEAT Program web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/pd/ee/peat.asp.
Information and templates for both notifications as well as resources for assessing when to send "Four-Week Letters" are also found on the COE PEAT Program web page. Further information regarding the ESSA requirements for these notifications can be found on the COE Title I, Part A Parent and Family web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/sw/t1/parentfamilyinvolve.asp, or by contacting the Title I Policy, Program, and Support Office, by phone at 916-445-4904 or by email at TitleIParentEngagement@cde.ca.gov.
If you have questions regarding these requirements, please contact the Teacher and Leader Policy Office at TLPO@cde.ca.gov.
Improvement and Measurement Branch
cc: Mary Vixie Sandy, Executive Director, Commission on Teacher Credentialing