Equitable Distribution: Connecticut

Identifying Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should publicly report districts' distribution of teacher talent among schools to identify inequities in schools serving disadvantaged children.

Meets in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Equitable Distribution: Connecticut results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/CT-Equitable-Distribution-8

Analysis of Connecticut's policies

Providing comprehensive reporting may be the state's most important role for ensuring the equitable distribution of teachers among schools. Connecticut reports some school-level data that can help support the equitable distribution of teacher talent among schools within districts.  

Although Connecticut does not provide a school-level teacher quality index that demonstrates the academic backgrounds of a school's teachers, the state does collect and publicly report on the percentage of highly qualified teachers, teacher absenteeism rates and turnover rates, average teacher experience and the percentage of teachers with two years' experience or less. Commendably, these data are reported for each school, rather than aggregated by district. Furthermore, the state reports on the poverty and minority percentages at both the district and state level and compares the percentages of highly qualified teachers at high- and low-poverty schools as well as high- and low-minority population schools.

Citation

Recommendations for Connecticut

Use a teacher quality index to report publicly about each school.
Connecticut is commended for reporting more school-level data than most states, including teacher absenteeism and turnover rates. However, the state should consider adopting a teacher quality index, such as the one developed by the Illinois Education Research Council, with data including teachers' average SAT or ACT scores, the percentage of teachers failing basic skills licensure tests at least once, the selectivity of teachers' undergraduate colleges and the percentage of new teachers. This can shine a light on how equitably teachers are distributed both across and within districts. Individual school report cards should include such data in a manner that translates these factors into something easily understood by the public, such as a color-coded matrix indicating a school's high or low score.

Provide comparative data based on school demographics.
As Connecticut does with highly qualified teachers, the state should provide comparative data for schools with similar poverty and minority populations. This would yield a more comprehensive picture of gaps in the equitable distribution of teachers.

State response to our analysis

Connecticut was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.

Research rationale

For comprehensive review of the literature on teacher quality and distribution, see Jennifer Rice King, "The Impact of Teacher Experience: Examining the Evidence and Policy Implications" CALDER: Urban Institute (August 2010). For more about how poor and minority children do not get their fair share of high-quality teachers, read L. Feng and T. Sass, "Teacher Quality and Teacher Mobility." National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (2011); T. Sass et al, "Value Added of Teachers in High-Poverty Schools and Lower-Poverty Schools." CALDER Institute (2010); and Education Trust, Teaching Inequality: How Poor and Minority Children are Shortchanged on Teacher Quality (Washington, DC: Education Trust, 2006).

Education Trust also produced an analysis of the first set of state Equity Plans that pointed out the inadequacies of most states' data systems to produce reliable information about teacher qualifications and experience levels in schools disaggregated by poverty and racial composition of schools. Although almost all states were required to resubmit their plans and earned approval for them, many of the shortcomings of state data systems remained. For example, few states are equipped to identify by school, teachers' years of experience, meaning they cannot identify the ratio of new teachers to the full school staff. See Education Trust, Missing the Mark: An Education Trust Analysis of Teacher-Equity Plans (Washington, DC: Education Trust, 2006).

For an example of a teacher quality index, see White, Bradford R.; Presley, Jennifer and DeAngelis, Karen J. Leveling Up: Narrowing the Teacher Academic Capital Gap in Illinois. Illinois Education Research Council: IERC 2008-1 http://ierc.siue.edu/documents/IERC2008-1.pdf.

For more about teachers' effectiveness in the early years of teaching, see Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job by Robert Gordon, Thomas J. Kane, and Douglas O. Staiger at: The Hamilton Project, http://www.brookings.edu/views/papers/200604hamilton_1.pdf (2009);

See also Jennifer Rice King, Teacher Quality: Understanding the Effectiveness of Teacher Attributes (Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute, 2003).