Teacher Preparation

Suit Contests ‘Loophole’ for Alternate Paths

By Vaishali Honawar — August 28, 2007 1 min read

A group of California parents, students, and community organizations is suing the U.S. Department of Education for allowing uncertified alternative-route teachers to be designated as “highly qualified” under the No Child Left Behind Act.

The federal law requires teachers to have full state licensure, in addition to a bachelor’s degree and evidence that they know each subject they teach. But department regulations allow uncertified candidates in alternative-route programs to teach for up to three years while seeking certification.

Backers of the lawsuit, Renee v. Spellings, which was filed last week in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, said they are concerned because many of those teachers end up in schools that are low-performing and enroll higher concentrations of students of color.

“These are teachers who have come through one month of boot camp in an alternative program and are thrown into classrooms as full-time teachers,” said Wynn Hausser, a spokesman for Public Advocates, the San Francisco public-interest law firm representing the plaintiffs.

He contended that the regulation at issue is a loophole intended to give Congress “a rosier picture of how close schools are to meeting the standards” of the NCLB law, which requires every classroom in which a core subject is taught to be staffed by a highly qualified teacher.

Mr. Hausser’s group maintains that 100,000 teachers currently in the nation’s classrooms are labeled as “highly qualified” even though they are still in training.

Obscuring the Truth?

The lawsuit drew support from members of the teacher education community.

“The Department of Education has created this large loophole to allow uncertified teachers who haven’t completed a preparation program to receive a highly qualified designation,” Jane West, the vice president of government relations for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, said in a statement.

Samara Yudof, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, said it would have no comment.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to void the regulation allowing teachers in alternative routes to be deemed highly qualified.

“My son’s 1st grade teacher is still taking classes necessary to obtain her full teaching credential,” Maribel Heredia, one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement. “I think it’s wrong that she is called highly qualified.”

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
Classroom Technology Webinar
Educator-Driven EdTech Design: Help Shape the Future of Classroom Technology
Join us for a collaborative workshop where you will get a live demo of GoGuardian Teacher, including seamless new integrations with Google Classroom, and participate in an interactive design exercise building a feature based on
Content provided by GoGuardian
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online
School & District Management Webinar What's Ahead for Hybrid Learning: Putting Best Practices in Motion
It’s safe to say hybrid learning—a mix of in-person and remote instruction that evolved quickly during the pandemic—is probably here to stay in K-12 education to some extent. That is the case even though increasing

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

Teacher Preparation Opinion Far Too Many Educators Aren’t Prepared to Teach Black and Brown Students
Teacher-prep programs can help address that inadequacy, writes Sharif El-Mekki.
5 min read
A group of multicolored people stand together looking in both directions
Ada DaSilva/DigitalVision Vectors<br/>
Teacher Preparation Teachers Can Take on Anti-Racist Teaching. But Not Alone
Teachers want to do better by their students of color, but many don’t know how. Madeline Will examines the gap between intention and action.
3 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Illustration by Jamiel Law
Teacher Preparation You Have Anti-Racist Curriculum Resources. Now What Do You Do?
Teachers need spaces to explore how power dynamics have shaped the subjects they teach, explains Sarah Schwartz.
4 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Illustration by Jamiel Law
Teacher Preparation We All Live Racialized Lives: The 'Identity Work' Teachers Need to Do
Understanding the Black experience also means seeing white privilege, writes education professor LaGarrett King.
3 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Illustration by Jamiel Law