The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act created a condition that all schools must employ teachers that are "highly qualified." Therefore, every teacher must have at least a bachelor's degree, competence in their subject area, and full certification. These qualifications apply to teachers who are teaching core academic subjects.
What Are Core Academic Subjects?
Core academic subjects are the fundamental courses in education. These core subjects include:
- Foreign Languages
- Civics and Government
How Are Schools Held Accountable?
School districts and individual schools must make a plan of action that describes how their school will comply with meeting the "highly qualified" requirement. Schools also need to be able to prove its teachers meet the highly qualified requirement through either a subject evaluation or through a High, Objective, Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE), which is used to evaluate multi-subject teachers. In return, these schools can receive federal funding that assists them in complying with the requirement.
How Can Parents Inquire about Teacher Qualifications?
Parents of students can find out the qualifications of their child's teachers by going to the school and requesting the information. The information provided will regard the teacher's certification, the teacher's college degree, and whether they are on a provisional status.
What about Teacher's Aides?
Teacher's aides that do not meet the highly qualified requirements are not allowed to give instruction, but must be under the supervision of a qualified teacher. Therefore, if your child is being taught by an unqualified teacher's aide, you should ask the school administration about the situation.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
A government attorney can help to give parents guidance on teacher quality and whether a school is complying with NCLB. In addition, an experienced attorney can help to assist parents in finding alternatives to the school their child is enrolled in.