For Teachers, Being 'Highly Qualified' Is a Subjective Matter
'No Child' Standards of Content Mastery Widely Interpreted
By Michael Alison Chandler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 13, 2007; A01
To overhaul public education, the No Child Left Behind law required a massive expansion of student testing. But it also called for states to ensure that all teachers in core academic subjects are "highly qualified" to help students succeed -- an unprecedented mandate that has delivered less than promised.
The law, which turned five years old this week, has held schools to increasingly higher standards for student achievement. For teachers, however, standards meant to guarantee that they know their subjects are often vague and open to broad interpretation.
Legal loopholes and uneven implementation by states and the U.S. Department of Education have diluted the law's impact on the teaching workforce, some education experts say. They say that meeting the standards of quality is more about shuffling paper than achieving two vital goals: ensuring that teachers are prepared to help students succeed and reducing the teacher talent gap between rich and poor schools.
"Meeting the qualifications has become an exercise in bureaucratic compliance," said Andrew J. Rotherham, a member of the Virginia Board of Education and a former education adviser in the Clinton administration. "It's not a process that gets at the fundamental issues of quality or effectiveness." Congress may soon tackle those issues as it considers renewing the law.
Read the rest here.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
On Being Highly Qualified
Saturday's Washington Post included a discussion of the highly qualified teacher provisions of No Child Left Behind. If you've been following this issue, there isn't too much new, but it's a good overview. From everything I've heard, the teacher quality parts of NCLB are among the most likely to be revised when the law comes up for reauthorization.