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.

ESSA Opportunity #5: New Direct Student Services


My fifth entry of the top 10 opportunities that Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) deals with the new direct student services provision. States may reserve up to 3% of their Title I, Part A grant to provide grants to school districts for direct student services. States must prioritize districts serving the highest percentage of schools identified for comprehensive and targeted support and improvement.

Activities must include:

  • Enrollment in courses not available at a student’s school
  • Credit recovery and acceleration courses
  • Activities that assist students in completing postsecondary credit
  • Components of a personalized learning approach
  • Transportation for students who wish to switch schools