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The No Child Left Behind Act, passed by Congress in 2001, requires that every teacher in the nation be highly qualified by the 2005-06 school year. But what is the definition of a “highly qualified” teacher? And how can parents tell whether their child’s teacher meets the standard?

As part of Teacher Appreciation Week, the Alliance for Excellent Education last week launched an initiative designed to help parents, educators, policymakers, and a concerned public better understand what it means to be a highly qualified teacher. The effort will advocate for the incentives and supports necessary to attract and retain highly qualified teachers in all of America’s schools, and will include:

  • a bumper sticker-reading “My child has a highly qualified teacher. Does yours?”-designed to pique the interest of parents and others regarding highly qualified teachers, and directing the reader to the Alliance’s website for additional information;
  • an updated policy brief, Pending Federal Legislation Related to the Alliance’s Teacher and Principal Quality Initiative, which lists legislation that could help states and localities recruit and retain highly qualified teachers; and
  • the re-release of the Alliance report New-Teacher Excellence: Retaining Our Best which examines what is known about effective teacher induction programs-that is, those that provide mentoring, training, and support for new teachers-and offers examples of programs around the nation that serve as models.

Information about teacher quality is now available at a new area of the Alliance’s website, and includes a legal definition of a “highly qualified” teacher, questions for parents to ask in order to determine the qualifications of their child’s teacher, and links to other informative sites on the Web.

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