Friday, September 08, 2006
Changing course, the Education Department will allow states to count teachers as highly qualified even under standards that may do little to ensure quality.Bring back Rod Paige. Now.
Federal law allows veteran teachers to be considered highly qualified under factors that states choose, such as job evaluations, teaching awards or service on school committees.
The department in May ordered states to phase out that system for most teachers. Watchdog groups and the department itself say many states were using this system to set weak, improper standards.
Yet Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has pulled back, telling states this week in a letter that they now are "strongly encouraged," though not required, to stop using the method to rate teachers.
The change could affect tens of thousands of teachers who have not met the conditions of the No Child Left Behind Act. Otherwise, teachers would have to demonstrate competence by holding academic majors or passing tests in every subject they teach.