New federal guidance will allow innovation in America’s support for teachers and principals

Chiefs for Change
September 27, 2016

Any parent can tell you how important the skills of her child’s teachers and principal are. Yet for too long, our nation has missed enormous opportunities in recruiting, preparing, and supporting the people who do that vital and hard work.

New guidance from the U.S. Department of Education could help states and districts change that, by providing specific examples of how they can make use of new flexibility provided under Title II, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Such flexibility will allow states and districts to follow the examples of the most forward-looking leaders, designing coherent systems that begin long before teachers begin working with students, and to follow them through their years of service, taking advantage of important new models such as hands-on “residencies.”

“As a country, we’re better at giving lip service to the importance of teachers and principals than at supporting them,” said Mike Magee, CEO of Chiefs for Change, a coalition of two dozen results-oriented state education Chiefs and district superintendents. “This new guidance will help leaders bring innovation and coherence to how we help educators throughout their careers.”

The new guidance is well aligned with a recent report on Title II, Part A funds from Chiefs for Change examining how innovation and flexibility can strengthen support for educators. It also offers lessons based on the work happening in states and districts led by Chiefs for Change members in Tulsa, Oakland, New Mexico, and Mississippi.

Among other strengths, the new guidance emphasizes the opportunity for Chiefs to align educator support activities under Title II, Part A funds with other activities in state and district human capital systems. Chiefs for Change commends the Department for the thoughtfulness of its new guidance.