On Monday, March
15, the U.S. Department of Education issued new rules that supposedly
will allow greater flexibility in implementing the highly qualified
teacher (HQT) provision of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
Under the new
policy, teachers in eligible rural districts who teach multiple
subjects and who are highly qualified in at least one subject area
have three years to become highly qualified in the additional subjects
they teach. While teachers are in the process of becoming highly
qualified in multiple subject areas, they must also be “provided
with professional development, intense supervision or structured
rural teachers would have until their third year of teaching to
become highly qualified. This is different from current law that
says that teachers new to any district must already be highly qualified.
under the new provisions states may determine, based on their certification
requirements, to allow science teachers to demonstrate they are
highly qualified either in a broad science field or individual
fields of science (which are defined by the Department of Education
as physics, biology, or chemistry).
can now streamline the evaluation process by allowing current teachers
teaching multiple subjects to demonstrate through one High Objective
Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSEE) process that they
are highly qualified in each of the subject fields instead of being
subjected to a HOUSSE process for every subject.
As you know,
NCLB requires that all teachers of core subject areas be highly
qualified by 2005-06. To be deemed highly qualified, teachers must
have: 1) a bachelor's degree, 2) full state certification or licensure,
and 3) prove that they know each subject they teach.
Middle and high
school teachers must prove that they know the subject they teach
with: 1) a major in the subject they teach, 2) credits equivalent
to a major in the subject, 3) passage of a state-developed test,
4) a HOUSSE for current teachers 5) an advanced certification from
the state, or 6) a graduate degree.
may consist of a combination of teaching experience, professional
development, and knowledge in the subject garnered over time in
In making the
announcement on Monday, Secretary Paige said “we discovered that
many states were not using the full flexibility in the law, especially
to help their middle school and experienced teachers demonstrate
that they are highly qualified. In addition, many were under the
mistaken impression that all veteran teachers had to either go back
to school or take a test.”
“Today, we are
responding with changes that make sense, supporting state efforts
to strengthen teacher quality and aiding the professionals in the
classroom, while also ensuring that the highest standards for qualified
teachers—so imperative to student success—remain intact.”
Paige also announced
that the Department would soon unveil a new website dedicated to
the implementation of the HQT provision, and plans to convene a
National Teacher Summit later this year.