New data out from the Education Department find sizable — and in some states, huge — disparities in children’s access to fully qualified and experienced teachers.
In Pennsylvania, for instance, more than 20 percent of teachers are unlicensed in the schools with the largest concentration of minority students. In largely white schools, just 0.2 percent of teachers lack a license, the data show.
Or consider Louisiana: Nearly 20 percent of classes in the most impoverished schools are taught by teachers who don’t meet the federal definition of “highly qualified” — which generally means they lack a bachelor’s degree, are unlicensed or don’t have a strong academic background in the subject they’re teaching. In the wealthier schools, fewer than 8 percent of classes are led by a teacher who’s not highly qualified.