Byron's Babbles

ESSA Opportunity #6: Elimination of Highly Qualified Teacher

teachers_crop380wEvery Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has revised a key element of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) related to teachers. NCLB referred to “highly qualified teachers” 67 separate times. When NCLB was written in 2001 it was an important piece of the legislation that every child should be instructed by a “highly qualified teacher.” The terminology was ambiguous and it put a strain on schools really being able to put effective teachers in every classroom. ESSA solves this problem by deleting any reference to “highly qualified” teachers. Instead, it refers to “effective” teachers.

The law replaces the “highly qualified teacher” requirements with a requirement that states ensure teachers meet the applicable state certification and licensure requirements. ESSA eliminates the NCLB language prohibiting emergency or provisional certification. In fact, ESSA does allow for provisional certification and the waiving of licensing criteria for states and schools receiving Title I funding.

This provides states with an opportunity to design a new strategy for educator quality that aligns to a vision for personalized learning. Specifically, states could align their certification and licensing requirements to reflect new teaching roles and competencies for instruction in personalized learning environments.

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