When first enacted into law, the No Child Left Behind Act was commended for its focus on accountability and standards. In recent months, however, as the number of schools “in need of improvement” has begun to rise, critics have assailed the law for a lack of funding and poor implementation. In response, the U.S. Department of Education has issued new regulations that make it easier for school districts to meetNCLB requirements for special education students, limited-English-proficiency students, and, most recently, highly qualified teachers.
Last week, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced new flexibility in three categories (rural teachers, science teachers, and multi-subject teachers) for states that are preparing to meet the 2005-06 deadline for ensuring that all teachers are highly qualified. For rural districts, teachers who are highly qualified in at least one subject will now have three years to become highly qualified in the additional subjects they teach.
Some states currently allow science teachers to be certified under a “general science” certification, while others require a subject-specific certification (such as physics, biology, or chemistry). Now states may determine-based on their current certification requirements-that science teachers are highly qualified either in “broad field” science or individual fields of science. Finally, for multi-subject teachers already in schools, the new flexibility would not require them to take a test in every subject to demonstrate that they meet highly qualified requirements.
Paige’s announcement stressed that NCLB allows states to create an alternative method (the High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation, or HOUSSE) for teachers not new to the field to certify they know the subject they teach. However, until the new flexibility was announced, teachers would have had to go through HOUSSE for each subject they teach. Now states can streamline the HOUSSE process to demonstrate through one process that teachers are highly qualified in each of their subjects.
Read the U.S. Department of Education’s press release on
- increased flexibility for students with disabilities, at http://www.ed.gov/nclb/freedom/local/specedfactsheet.pdf;
- increased flexibility for limited-English-proficient students, at http://www.ed.gov/nclb/accountability/schools/factsheet-english.html; and
- increased flexibility for the highly qualified teacher requirement, at http://www.ed.gov/nclb/methods/teachers/hqtflexibility.html.
|New Leaders for New Schools: National Nonprofit Accepting Applications for
New Leaders for New Schools, a national nonprofit that fosters high levels of academic achievement for every child by recruiting, selecting, training, and supporting the next generation of outstanding urban public school principals, is now accepting applications for its 2004-05 residencies in Washington, D.C. Applications are accepted online at http://www.nlns.org, and the last deadline is April 1.
New Leaders for New Schools is looking for candidates who have an unyielding belief in the potential of all children to excel academically, possess the instructional knowledge to improve teaching and learning, demonstrate great interpersonal and communication skills, and have a strong leadership record that reflects the ability to define a vision, build teams, and get results.
For more information, and to RSVP for the last information session on March 24, contact Traci Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 785-8894, ext. 3.