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Education Department pushes to get high-quality teachers into high-needs schools

President Barack Obama speaks as he hosts teachers for lunch, Monday, July 7, 2014, in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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President Barack Obama speaks as he hosts teachers for lunch, Monday, July 7, 2014, in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON - The Education Department on Monday announced a new initiative to attract quality teachers to the schools that need them most.

As part of the initiative, the Education Department said it will ask states to develop new, comprehensive educator equity plans. It is also investing $4.2 million to start a new technical assistance network to help states and districts create and implement their plans.

President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are scheduled to lunch with teachers Monday at the White House to discuss the issue. Duncan will also participate later Monday in a discussion on the topic with teachers and principals.

"Despite the excellent work and deep commitment of our nation's teachers and principals, systemic inequities exist that shortchange students in high-poverty, high-minority schools across our country," Duncan said in a statement.

Black and American Indian students are four times as likely as their white peers to go to a school where more than 20 per cent of teachers are in their first year, according to Education Department statistics. The same data show that Latino students are three times as likely.

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Follow Kimberly Hefling on Twitter: http://twitter.com/khefling

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