Federal

States Rate Poorly on Ensuring Veteran Teachers Are Qualified

By Linda Jacobson — December 21, 2004 2 min read

States may be demanding high standards of their newly certified teachers, but they’re doing a poor job of requiring their veteran teachers to get the training necessary to meet the “highly qualified” provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, according to a new assessment of states’ progress.

“Searching the Attic: How States Are Responding to the Nation’s Goal of Placing a Highly Qualified Teacher in Every Classroom” is available online from the National Council on Teacher Quality. ()

While there are a few exceptions, many states are either exempting veteran teachers from any coursework or asking them only to complete activities that have little connection to knowledge of the subjects they teach, according to the study, released last week by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington-based organization.

“Most states neither share the urgency nor the single-minded focus of the U.S. Congress in seeking to address the low academic standards required of American teachers, arguably the least rigorous among all developed nations,” the report says, adding that many states don’t have the “political stomach for remedying the impact of substandard, expired certification regulations.”

The report, which follows the group’s first study released last spring, grades states’ plans for addressing the HOUSSE, or “high objective uniform state standard of evaluation,” provision of the federal law.

Five states, the study finds, require all teachers, regardless of how long they’ve been teaching, to have at least a college minor in the subject they teach.

Thirty states offer teachers a menu, allowing them to acquire points for professional development activities or serving on a committee. In fact, the report’s title, “Searching the Attic,” is drawn from the image of teachers “rummaging” through old papers looking for evidence that they participated in some qualifying activity in the past.

Colorado received an A+ for being the only state to require all teachers to either pass a test in the subject they teach or take the number of courses close to earning a major.

But the authors don’t place all the responsibility on the states for the disappointing performance. Congress, the report says, should “revisit the structure of the highly qualified teacher provision.” And the U.S. Department of Education, they recommend, should be clear that a major is no less than 30 credit hours, and a minor no less than 15.

With the deadline for states having “highly qualified” teachers only a year away, the council’s report is just the latest to weigh in on that controversial aspect of the law.

Tom Carroll, the president of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, a nonprofit group working to improve teacher preparation and the profession, said that the report suggests that states and the Congress might be missing a prime opportunity to improve the quality of the teaching workforce. But he added that too many questions remain about how poorly prepared teachers are distributed at the school level.

There is still too much emphasis placed on the “inputs” of teacher quality, such as certification and testing, he said. With progress being made in the area of “value-added” research, he noted, there should be more efforts to evaluate veteran teachers’ actual performance.

“We should be going beyond certification and testing,” he said. “We should be able to look at how effective teachers are in the classroom.”

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
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
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
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
Schools are working through the most disruptive period in the history of modern education, facing a pandemic, economic problems, social justice issues, and rapid technological change all at once. But even after the pandemic ends,

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

Federal Biden Pick for Education Civil Rights Office Has History With Racial Equity, LGBTQ Issues
Biden selected Catherine Lhamon to lead the Education Department's civil rights work, a role she also held in the Obama administration.
2 min read
Flags decorate a space outside the office of the Education Secretary at the Education Department in Washington on Aug. 9, 2017.
Flags decorate a space outside the office of the Education Secretary at the Education Department in Washington on Aug. 9, 2017.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Federal Lawmakers Press CDC About Teachers' Union Influence on School Reopening Guidance
Republican senators asked CDC Director Rochelle Walensky about reports a teachers' union had input on guidance for schools on COVID-19.
3 min read
Dr. Rochelle Walensky speaks during an event in Wilmington, Del., to announce President-elect Joe Biden's health care team on Dec. 8, 2020.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, speaks during an event in Wilmington, Del., to announce then-President-elect Joe Biden's health care team on Dec. 8, 2020.
Susan Walsh/AP
Federal Biden Taps Ex-Obama Aide Roberto Rodriguez for Key Education Department Job
Rodriguez served as a top education staffer to President Barack Obama and currently leads a teacher-advocacy organization.
3 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Getty
Federal Biden Pitches Plan to Expand Universal Pre-K, Free School Meal Programs, Teacher Training
The president's $1.8 trillion American Families Plan faces strong headwinds as Congress considers other costly administration proposals.
8 min read
President Joe Biden addresses Congress from the House chamber. Behind him are Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress Wednesday night, as Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., applaud.<br/>
Chip Somodevilla/AP