Education Letter to the Editor

NCLB Law’s Quality Rules Worsen Teacher Shortage

September 25, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

In response to your article concerning the “highly qualified teacher” provisions in the recent draft House reauthorization plan for the No Child Left Behind Act (“Draft Retains Quality Rules for Teachers,” Sept. 12, 2007):

Throughout the federal law, “highly” is always used before “qualified.” This clever device suggests that teachers with state certification may not really be qualified, and that some higher authorization—such as passing a national test—is necessary to assure they are “highly” qualified.

So, many certified, experienced teachers are being classified as “not highly qualified.” They may be secondary teachers who are certified but don’t have a major in every subject they are teaching, or perhaps middle school teachers with general elementary certification. In such cases, school districts are required to send notices to parents that their children’s teachers are not highly qualified. Many teachers have lost their jobs and been replaced by inexperienced, uncertified teachers who have passed a test in a subject.

Rural schools, including those serving remote Native American and Alaskan populations, are especially hurt by this definition of “highly qualified.” Some cannot afford to hire full-time specialists in every subject, and there is no pool of part-time teachers available to them.

In addition, requiring middle school teachers to have majors in specific fields is an illegal imposition of curriculum under the federal law, since schools would have to move away from integrated social studies and general science courses.

There is an increasing shortage of qualified teachers nationwide, especially in minority and poor communities. The No Child Left Behind law’s “highly qualified” provision is aggravating that problem, not alleviating it.

Kenneth S. Goodman

Professor Emeritus

Department of Language, Reading, and Culture

College of Education

University of Arizona

Tucson, Ariz.

A version of this article appeared in the September 26, 2007 edition of Education Week as NCLB Law’s Quality Rules Worsen Teacher Shortage


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
Challenging the Stigma: Emotions and STEM
STEM isn't just equations and logic. Join this webinar and discover how emotions fuel innovation, creativity, & problem-solving in STEM!
Content provided by Project Lead The Way

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: February 7, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 31, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education In Their Own Words The Stories That Stuck With Us, 2023 Edition
Our newsroom selected five stories as among the highlights of our work. Here's why.
4 min read
102523 IMSE Reading BS
Adria Malcolm for Education Week