NCLB Declares North Dakota Master Teachers Unqualified
I teach in North Dakota and we just found out
from the Department of Education that more than 4000 of our N.D elementary teachers do not
meet NCLB's highly qualified definition. Keep in mind ALL of these teachers have
ELEMENTARY EDUCATION MAJORS and many have MASTER'S Degrees in ELEMENTARY ED but were recently told they don't meet the standards.
Even a Master's degree is not good enough for the Feds.
A secondary teacher with an ENGLISH MAJOR can teach English, but an elementary teacher with an ELEMENTARY major can't teach elementary school.
Also keep in mind that North Dakota students are usually among the top scorers on national tests. We have one of the highest graduation rates and rates of students who go on to attend college and yet nearly ALL of our elementary teachers
will have to spend valuable time and money to meet the new defintion of qualified dreamt up in Washington D. C. It is a slap in the face to those veteran teachers (and young teachers too) who have proven themselves in the classroom.
As an example, in my middle school one of my colleagues holds a Master's degree and has been teaching for 15+ years. She was honored in Washington D. C. for winning the President's Award for Teaching Excellence in Math and Science, but after 2006 she will no longer be qualified to teach. She will have to prove her competency through a portfolio and/ or taking several tests.
NCLB is not only leaving many children behind, but leaving the experienced, award-winning teachers behind as well!
Our Congressmen have met with the US Department of Education on several occasions. I suspect many other states are going to find themselves in the same boat when the have their on-site visit by the USDoE. Ours was held in December of 2004. Prior to this we had submitted our plan for meeting the Higly Qualified status, and no one on the national level had said that anything was amiss.
Our governor, as well as the head of our North Dakota Education Association, and our Congressional delegation are all fighting for us, but it sounds like the US Department of Ed isn't budging.
Since teachers have to meet the new regulations by the summer of 2006, this leaves little time to fight. We don't even have the guidelines yet for the portfolio. We've heard that we'll know these requirements by May of this year. That leaves us just a little over one year to compile the information in the portfolio.
As you can imagine, morale is a little low among our teachers, but we are dedicated, and we love what we do.
North Dakota Teacher
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