Teachers’ aides will have an additional semester to meet the “qualified” standard set by federal law, the U.S. Department of Education said last week.
The No Child Left Behind Act specifies that paraprofessionals with instructional duties in schools receiving Title I money have until Jan. 8, 2006, to meet the standard.
But in a letter made public last week, Deputy Secretary of Education Raymond J. Simon said paraprofessionals can have until the end of the 2005-06 school year to prove themselves qualified—a deadline that matches a similar one for teachers.
Several members of Congress and the national teachers’ unions had pressed for the extension, pointing out that some districts had, in effect, moved up the deadline by requiring aides to have met the standard before the start of the school year.
Many of the nation’s roughly 1 million school paraprofessionals have taken or expect to take a test to show they are prepared for their jobs.