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Published in Print: May 26, 2004, as Nev. Teacher Claims Rosters Altered to Meet ‘No Child’ Law

Nev. Teacher Claims Rosters Altered to Meet ‘No Child’ Law

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A high school teacher in Zephyr Cove, Nev., has accused his principal of altering school records in order meet a provision of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Michael Kiger, a mathematics teacher at the 250-student George Whittell High School, filed the complaint with the Nevada Department of Education last month.

His complaint alleges that Principal Janie Gray told him that grades for eight youngsters who were not in his class would be credited to him. "She was attempting to place these kids under a highly qualified teacher," he said in an interview last week.

There is a "paper trail" to prove the allegation, he added.

The allegations are currently being investigated by the state.

"We are looking into the issue," said Gloria Dopf, the state’s deputy superintendent for instructional research and evaluative services.

An investigation is under way at the district level, Ms. Dopf added. "We will have a short turnaround with a resolution by the end of the school year," she said.

Ms. Gray, the principal of the Douglas County high school, did not respond to a request for comment.

According to the May 11 edition of the Reno Gazette-Journal, Mr. Kiger filed his complaint in the form of an e- mail in which he wrote: "It sickens me to go to school each day and know that our school stands for nothing when the principal and others are allowed to preach that we have the highest standards and are 100 percent in compliance with the No Child Left Behind Act."

Because Whittell High is not eligible for money under Title I of the federal education law, officials at the school do not have to prove that all of its teachers are highly qualified until the 2005-06 school year.

By contrast, schools that receive Title I aid have been required to ensure that teachers hired after the 2002-03 school year meet federal definitions for being highly qualified.

An Issue to Watch

Ms. Dopf said that even if the allegations are confirmed, the principal’s actions would not have had any bearing on the school’s NCLB compliance. "At this point," she said, "whether their teachers are highly qualified or not does not count against the school."

While many educators say they are increasingly feeling strained by the law’s requirements, the incident in Nevada appears to be an anomaly—at least for now.

"That was the first example I’ve heard" of a principal allegedly changing school data regarding highly qualified teachers, said Daniel Kaufman, a spokesman for the National Education Association.

But, because school districts and teachers are under pressure to comply with the law, such infractions could become more common, Mr. Kaufman said.

"We are on the cusp of any possible trend," he said. "It is certainly possible that we will see some unintended effects of the law along those lines."

Vol. 23, Issue 38, Page 5

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