Federal

Most States Pass Federal Review on Highly Qualified Teachers

By Bess Keller — August 17, 2006 3 min read

The vast majority of states are well on their way to plans that federal officials contend will soon put a qualified teacher at the head of every academic class, including ones in schools with poor records of student achievement.

In an Aug. 16 announcement, the U.S. Department of Education singled out nine states for having put forward particularly complete plans, according to a team of 31 outside experts organized by the department. Those states are Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, and South Dakota.

Another four states, however, flunked the reviews. They are Hawaii, Missouri, Utah, and Wisconsin. While all but one or two states will need to revise their plans to take into account the comments of the expert reviewers, federal officials said those four must submit new plans, undergo close monitoring of the data they collect on teacher quality, and provide detailed monthly progress reports. The rewritten plans are due Sept. 29.

Further information on the state plans, including a fact sheet and links to each of the state plans is available from the U.S. Department of Education.

In the plans, which were due to the Education Department on July 7, states were required to describe which groups of teachers are not yet “highly qualified” according to the federal standard, how they will help–and if necessary prod—districts so that all their teachers meet the standard, and what steps they are taking to ensure that poor and minority children get their fair share of teaching talent.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 calls for all teachers of core subjects in virtually all public schools to have been qualified by the school year that just ended. In general, teachers are deemed “highly qualified” if they hold at least a standard license and show command of the subjects they teach.

This past fall, however, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings recognized that no state was likely to meet the highly qualified teacher requirement. As a result, she declared that states could avoid the punitive loss of federal funds for the 2006-07 school year if they showed good faith and progress in reaching for the goal. In reviews based on monitoring visits to each state, all but seven states were deemed to have complied with the good-faith effort. Three are on notice for failing to institute a test for new elementary teachers and four were cited for missing or inadequate data.

But all the states were given until the end of September to revise their plans for meeting the teacher-quality goal. And for the first time, the Education Department insisted that states address with a plan the No Child Left Behind law’s so-called teacher “equity provision.” That provision requires that poor and minority children not be taught in greater proportions than other children by teachers who are unqualified in their subjects or inexperienced.

Until recently, many states, caught up in the law’s testing mandates, have failed to grapple with that part of the law.

Federal officials seemed to take that into account last week, generally praising states for progress and even putting one state, New Mexico, in the approved category though it had not yet pulled together a plan for achieving equity.

“For the most part, states have worked very hard to address the issues they needed to address, and we are seeing some progress,” Henry L. Johnson, the Education Department’s assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, said in a conference call with reporters.

A Different Take

But the Education Trust, a Washington-based research organization that advocates for poor and minority students, had a different take.

In a report on the states’ latest teacher-quality plans released earlier this month and focused largely on the states’ efforts to achieve teacher-quality equity, the group’s researchers said the “overwhelming majority” of states should be required to start over “with clearer guidance and more assistance from the Department of Education to get this process moving in the right direction.”

The Education Trust faulted many states “for vague plans that lacked the data to properly target the strategies or evaluate their effectiveness” in ensuring that poor and minority students get qualified teachers no less than other students.

René Islas, who heads the Education Department’s teacher-quality effort, agreed but in a milder form.

“The biggest issue was that … states did not do a comprehensive data analysis to identify which highly qualified teachers are in which schools, so it’s difficult to develop the optimum strategies,” he said. “In other cases, they maybe were not bold enough with strategies targeted to effectively change local incentives for drawing teachers” into the schools that need them most.

Events

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.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Building Leadership Excellence Through Instructional Coaching
Join this webinar for a discussion on instructional coaching and ways you can link your implement or build on your program.
Content provided by Whetstone Education/SchoolMint
Teaching Webinar Tips for Better Hybrid Learning: Ask the Experts What Works
Register and ask your questions about hybrid learning to our expert panel.
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.
Sponsor
Families & the Community Webinar
Family Engagement for Student Success With Dr. Karen Mapp
Register for this free webinar to learn how to empower and engage families for student success featuring Karen L. Mapp.
Content provided by Panorama Education & PowerMyLearning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Senior Director Marketing
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Camelot Education
Coordinator of Strategic Partnerships
Camden, New Jersey, United States
Camelot Education
Training Specialist -- Little Leaves Behavioral Services
Weston, Florida, United States
Camelot Education
Superintendent, Mount Pleasant CSD
Thornwood, New York
Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates

Read Next

Federal Explainer Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education: Background and Achievements
Background and highlights of Miguel Cardona's tenure as the twelfth U.S. Secretary of Education.
Education Week Library
2 min read
Miguel Cardona, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of Education, speaks after being introduced at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del., on Dec. 23, 2020.
Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education, speaks after being put forward for the position by then-President-elect Joe Biden in December 2020.
Carolyn Kaster/AP
Federal Senate Confirms Miguel Cardona as Education Secretary
The former Connecticut education commissioner got his start as an elementary school teacher and was a principal and school administrator.
2 min read
Miguel Cardona, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of Education, speaks after being introduced at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020.
Miguel Cardona was confirmed by the Senate to serve as U.S. Secretary of Education. The former Connecticut education commissioner has worked as a teacher, principal, and district administrator.
Carolyn Kaster/AP
Federal Biden Legal Team Steps Back From Trump Stance on Transgender Female Sports Participation
The Education Department's office for civil rights pulls a letter that said Connecticut's transgender-inclusive policy violates Title IX.
4 min read
Bloomfield High School transgender athlete Terry Miller, second from left, wins the final of the 55-meter dash over transgender athlete Andraya Yearwood, far left, and other runners in the Connecticut girls Class S indoor track meet at Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Conn on Feb. 7, 2019. Transgender athletes are getting an ally in the White House next week as they seek to participate as their identified gender in high school and college sports. Attorneys on both sides say they expect President-elect Joe Biden’s Department of Education will switch sides in legal battles that could go a long way in determining whether transgender athletes are treated by the sex on their birth certificates or by how they identify.
Bloomfield High School transgender athlete Terry Miller, second from left, wins over transgender athlete Andraya Yearwood, far left, and other runners in an event in New Haven, Conn. The two transgender athletes are at the center of a legal fight in Connecticut over the participation of transgender female athletes in girls' or women's sports.
Pat Eaton-Robb/AP
Federal Congress Again Tries to Pass Eagles Act, Focused on School Shootings After Parkland
A group of bipartisan Congressional lawmakers is once again trying to get a law passed aimed at preventing school violence.
Devoun Cetoute & Carli Teproff, Miami Herald
2 min read
Suzanne Devine Clark, an art teacher at Deerfield Beach Elementary School, places painted stones at a memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2019 during the first anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Suzanne Devine Clark, an art teacher at Deerfield Beach Elementary School, places painted stones at a memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2019 during the first anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP