What is the Texas Equity Plan?
Each state education agency (SEA) is required to submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to ensure that all students have equal access to a quality education, regardless of race, ethnicity, or family income. Texas has had an equity plan in place since 2005 and has made notable progress in closing equity gaps over the past decade. The 2015 Texas Equity Plan will revise and update the 2012 plan with input from stakeholders in light of new federal guidance as part of ED’s “Excellent Educators for All Initiative.”
What federal law authorizes the state equity plans?
The plans are authorized by three sections of Title I, Part A, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA):
- Section 1111 (a)(1), which requires an SEA to submit a state plan that has been developed “in consultation with local educational agencies, teachers, principals, pupil services personnel, administrators (including administrators described in other parts of this title), other staff, and parents” and that is coordinated with other federal education programs;
- Section 1111 (b)(8)(c), which describes the requirements of the state plan, including steps “to ensure that poor and minority children are not taught at higher rates than other children by inexperienced, unqualified, or out-of-field teachers, and the measures that the State educational agency will use to evaluate and publicly report the progress of the State educational agency with respect to such steps”; and
- Section 9304 (a)(3)(b), which requires an SEA to conduct audits, monitoring, or evaluation to correct any deficiencies in program operations.
What is specifically required for this plan?
State plans must meet the following six requirements:
- Describe and provide documentation of the steps the SEA took to consult with stakeholders.
- Identify equity gaps.
- Explain the likely cause(s) of the identified equity gaps.
- Set forth the SEA’s steps to eliminate identified equity gaps.
- Describe the measures that the SEA will use to evaluate progress toward eliminating the identified equity gaps.
- Describe how the SEA will publicly report on its progress in eliminating the identified gaps, including timelines for this reporting.
How is the Texas Education Agency developing the plan?
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will work with a policy stakeholder group and a practitioners stakeholder group to identify equity gaps related to inexperienced, unqualified, and out-of-field teachers; develop evidence-based strategies that are responsive to root causes; and set timelines for each strategy, including sources of funds and other resources needed for implementation. TEA will then develop a draft version of the plan for comment by stakeholders, make revisions in response to feedback, and submit the final plan by the deadline of June 1, 2015.