Perplexed by New Rules

September 21, 2004 1 min read

Perplexed by New Rules: The federal government should expand its technical assistance to those who are implementing the No Child Left Behind Act, and states should set up clearinghouses to help districts meet the law’s requirements on “highly qualified” teachers, asserts the latest policy brief on the law from the Southeast Center for Teaching Quality.

Based in Chapel Hill, N.C., the center has published four briefs on the law, focusing specifically on Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The newest brief, released last month, suggests that school administrators are often perplexed by the changing provisions on teacher quality, and that some links in the “chain of communication” from the federal government are weak.

State efforts to help educators understand the law have also not been effective, the authors write, except in Georgia, where the state Professional Standards Commission hired regional consultants to work with districts on the highly-qualified-teacher mandate, which public schools must meet by the end of the 2005-06 school year.

Although Georgia school officials still express confusion about shifting definitions, at least they “benefit from a single and consistent point of contact for their numerous questions,” the paper says.

The brief also recommends more resources for data collection and reporting, and says that meeting the federal requirements doesn’t necessarily ensure that teachers will be highly qualified. Thus, it urges states to continue to improve professional development, working conditions, and higher education programs.

The paper is available online at