Saturday, May 13, 2006

Not One State Has Complied With NCLB's "Highly Qualified Teacher" Provisions

California isn't specifically mentioned at all, so I assume we're in the top tier of having over 90% of our teachers classified as "highly qualified".

WASHINGTON — Not a single state will have a highly qualified teacher in every core class this school year as promised by President Bush's education law. Nine states along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico face penalties.

The Education Department on Friday ordered every state to explain how it will have 100 percent of its core teachers qualified — belatedly — in the 2006-07 school year.

In the meantime, some states face the loss of federal aid because they didn't make enough effort to comply on time, officials said.

States don't have to do this, but if they don't, they risk losing federal education dollars. In that regard, this most definitely is not an unfunded mandate.

I love this quote:

"At some point there was, I suspect, a little bit of notion that 'This too shall pass,'" said Henry Johnson, the assistant secretary over elementary and secondary education. "Well, the day of reckoning is here, and it's not going to pass."

Let's read what these requirements are, the ones that some states thought must pass.

The 4-year-old No Child Left Behind law says teachers must have a bachelor's degree, a state license and proven competency in every subject they teach by this year. The first federal order of its kind, it applies to teachers of math, history and any other core class.

Do these sound like extreme requirements to you? I mean, the nerve of those in Washington, insisting that teachers have proven competency in subjects they teach!

And there are those (NEA, anyone?) who scream that the feds should just fork over the money because we know what's best for students. Amazing.


EHT said...

I think the requirements are reasonable. I meet them. I think most of the folks I teach with meet them. We also used an instrument called HOUSSE to determine "highly qualified". Are there that many teachers out there who don't hold a degree or certificate?

Darren said...

There *are* teachers who teach subjects for which they aren't credentialed. There used to be a lot more of them than there are now.

Anonymous said...

It's not an "unfunded mandate" because it doesn't cost extra money to employ qualified teachers -- as opposed to employing unqualified teachers. It also doesn't cost anything to teach to the curriculukm (that would be the test) instead of teaching politically-correct garbage.

Amerloc said...

At least part of the dilemma arises in tiny rural schools: it's relatively easy to find an English major who can teach American, British, world and modern literature, composition, etc, all falling under the same bachelor's degree. Finding a single teacher who can deliver physics, biology and chemistry is impossible.

I once saw posted an opening for an auto mechanics/reading/Latin teacher (I suspect they were juggling the opening to match someone they had in mind, but still).

Anonymous said...

In Indiana, all those tiny rural schools were consolidated in the early 70s.

Darren said...

I often hear about the tiny schools, but I can't believe they make up a sizeable percentage of the teachers in this country. That's a made-up argument.

Besides, if I'm not mistaken, NCLB only requires that parents be notified if their child's teachers are not considered qualified, and perhaps their children can be transfered to the classes of qualified teachers at parental request. In these rural schools, my guess is that people are aware of the issue and will accept the teachers they have.

There's no excuse for not having appropriately credentialed teachers in larger schools and districts.

Ellen K said...

Sorry to be so dense, but I have absolutely no idea what that term means. Sure it means that you have some scrap of paper or you've passed some test. But then again, I know teachers who have done that who have no business in a classroom. I teach AP Art History, Art I and AP Studio Art....and I am not sure if I qualify because I managed to get my degree back in the good old days of All Level Lifetime Certification. So on one hand, I probably am highly qualified, but on the other hand, i don't have a piece of paper saying so. And I don't think I will lose sleep over this because Education as an industry is far more fashion conscious than Fifth Avenue. Whichever way the wind blows...let it blow...let it blow. Just leave my lessom plans ALONE.

Onyx said...

I am considered highly qualified, having a BA in English and an MS in Ed. But the piece of paper isn't what makes a good teacher. I've met quite a few of the hq who an not teach. I also know many who are not hq but can teach! The being a good teacher (imho) is being teachable, and we don't have a test that can measure that.

Darren said...

Onyx, with all the coursework hoops we teachers have had to jump through (5 years in California, including a bachelor's degree), wouldn't that indicate someone's teachable?

Even though it's called "highly qualified", it's just a minimum standard. It's not a low standard, but it *is* a minimum. Being able to convey information in a way others can comprehend would seem an implicit requirement, but, as you said, there's no test for that, either. That's what evaluations are for.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has taught for a few years knows that evaluations from administrators come few and far between. Finding time to do the minimal evaluations is hard when administrators have so many other pressing demands. Once tenure kicks in, it is about impossible to get rid of an ineffective teacher. At my site we inherited a teacher a couple years ago (who had tenure when he arrived) who has NO classroom management and therefore, cannot teach. He just tries to keep the lid on the pot (and is not too successful I might add). My current principal happens to be more on top of things than the other two I have worked for and he took steps right away to try to help this teacher, suggesting management workshops, pairing him up with other teachers on campus known for their management skills, etc., but has been met with resistance from both the teacher and the union rep. who got involved to stop the "harassment". In the meantime, parents transfer their kids out of this person's class left and right all year long. There are other teachers on my campus who have master's degrees and are probably considered "highly qualified" and they just do cornell notes or worksheets all day every day. Just putting in their time. Based on your other blog entries, Darren, I get the distinct impression that you know just how valuable it is to have a teacher in the room that is actually teaching the materials (direct instruction). In a perfect world...............

Darren said...

I'm in my 9th year of teaching, and my 5th year in my current district. I was tenured after two years in each of the districts in which I've worked. I've been evaluated annually every year I've been a teacher.

The administrators at my site find the time to get out of their offices and evaluate teachers. I find it refreshing as well as rewarding. I refuse to consider myself "lucky", as that is the standard. It's unfortunate so many can't meet it.

And yes, I do understand the importance of actually "teaching". Your principal was right to try to help the teacher you mentioned--help him to teach, and not just cover some material--and should have told the union honcho to buzz off. Your principal is to be commended--I've worked for some who would just have hounded an ineffective teacher till he/she left of their own accord.