One of the most powerful changes was in 2002 when then President Bush reauthorized ESEA and renamed the policy as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Since, the signing of the NCLB, schools have been scrambling to implement or contest the new policy. One controversy lies over the flexibility provision that was provided by congress. The original flexibility provision provided veteran teachers an extra year to obtain highly qualified stats for rural school with districts having fewer than six hundred students in average daily attendance (Eppley, 2009).
Teachers who possess the necessary skills to benefit all students are sought after as schools are trying to fill the highly qualified teacher portion of the law as well as the section of NCLB’s recruiting and retention portion of the law. Research shows that teachers can have a remarkable influence on their students’ achievement (Heilig et al, 2011)
The highly qualified component of No Child Left Behind is backed by federal money; therefore, it is critical that any local education agency receiving Title II, Part A and Title I, Part A funds hire highly qualified teachers. There three principal components to meet the standard of highly qualified as required by NCLB. First, the teacher must have at least bachelor’s degree; second, the teacher must be fully certified by the state; and thirdly, must demonstrate competency in the core academic subject matter. The core subjects include english, reading, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics, government, economics, arts, history, and geography. NCLB also requires teachers who teach special education by 2004 to have a special education certification and be highly qualified in the subjects they teach (Green, 2011) (Eppley, 2009).
Highly qualified status for a secondary special education teacher (7-12) a teacher must have at least bachelor’s degree; second, the teacher must have the appropriate state special education teaching certification; and demonstrate subject competency in every core area teaching assignment. If they are a new teacher they must have passed the appropriate TExEs generalist exam or they meet one of the followings; has an academic major in the subject taught; has a graduate degree in the subject taught; has coursework equal to undergraduate major in the subject taught; or Meets highly qualified for elementary. If the teacher is experienced they have all of the same options as a new teacher except they could have passed the ExCET subject exam or they could meet HOUSE requirements. ("Texas education agency," 2011).
The Texas Education Agency has set the standard for meeting the HOUSE provision for teachers with secondary experience, for teachers with elementary experience, and for special education teachers. All teachers must have a minimum of one creditable year of teaching experience which is equal to ninety full-time instructional days in the subject to be taught. Next, teachers must earn a minimum of twenty-four points by meeting other criteria. Teachers can earn one point for each year of teaching experience at the proposed level. The teacher then can earn one point for college coursework in the subject or a closely related field. Lastly, a teacher can earn one point for every fifteen hours of continuing professional education. If all the points add up to twenty-four points the teacher is deemed highly qualified using the HOUSE provision., ("Texas education agency," 2012)
Any paraprofessional on a title I part a school who is an employee of local education agency providing instructional support or those at have a portion of their salary paid by title I funds Must Meet the Professional Highly Qualified requirements. Paraprofessionals employed by the local education agency must have a few options toward being considered highly qualified.
- Paraprofessionals must have completed at least two years of study at an institution of higher education and equivalent of 48 semester hours;
- Paraprofessional must have obtained an associate’s degree or higher;
- Paraprofessionals must meet a rigorous standard of quality demonstrated through a formal assessment conducted by the state or local educational agency. They must have knowledge of and the ability to assist in instructing reading, reading readiness, writing, writing readiness, math, or math readiness.
Many local education agencies send individuals who are applying for a paraprofessional position to their local education service center to take a course that deems them highly qualified. An exception to the highly qualified regulation of NCLB is if the paraprofessional’s duties consist solely of parental involvement activities or translation services. (“Requirements,” 2012)