That All States Must Ask and Answer
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 underscores
the important role teacher quality plays in student achievement.
The legislation requires that new teachers hired after the start
of 2002-03 in programs supported by Title I, Part A be "highly
qualified" and that all teachers, both new and existing, teaching
in core academic subjects be "highly qualified" by 2005-2006.
These requirements will challenge states to examine their current
teacher certification processes to determine their compliance
with No Child Left Behind, and to ensure that all teachers have
mastery of their content areas. In order to ascertain the extent
to which policies may need to be modified or created to ensure
compliance with the "highly qualified" teacher provisions in
the legislation, there are three guiding questions that all
states must ask and answer.
The "highly qualified" teacher provisions in No
Child Left Behind recognize that all children deserve access to
high-quality teachers and promote state efforts to ensure an equitable
distribution of high-quality educators. States that have relied
heavily on emergency certification, long-term substitutes, waivers
or provisional licenses can take advantage of funds allocated
under Title II for professional development to help all their
teachers - new, provisional and existing - become highly qualified.
There are also funds available for states to revise their certification
processes to ensure compliance with the legislation.
Some states are more challenged than others in meeting
the "highly qualified" teacher requirements of No Child Left Behind.
It is important to bear in mind, however, that this legislation
is designed to help all students achieve and provide them with
the opportunity to succeed not only in school but also in life.
Note: ECS is creating a comprehensive database of
all 50 states' and Territories' implementation of No Child Left
Behind. The information gathered by this project will help meet
three objectives: (1) track policy developments, changes or enactments
involving implementation among the 50 states and four territories
over the coming year; (2) provide a means for states and policy
organizations to identify technical assistance needs and; (3)
identify model policies, programs or practices across the 50 states
and four territories that could help individual states address
unique cultural or political realities confronting them during
Charles R. Coble, Executive Director
Twanna Hill, Policy Analyst
ECS Teaching Quality Policy Center
Special thanks to Jan Somerville, senior associate,
National Association of System Heads (NASH) and to her colleagues
in the NASH state network for their invaluable assistance in providing
much of the background information for this paper.