In this step, the teacher quality concern addresses key state and federal policies, determines a sense of urgency, and establishes what data are needed to provide a clearer picture.
What is the teacher quality concern?
The school district is not meeting the highly qualified teacher provision of NCLB.
What are the key state and federal policies on teacher quality? What is the urgency of addressing this concern? NCLB requires teachers to meet the highly qualified provision by the end of the 2005–06 school year. Since the inception of the law, school districts have been required by NCLB to report to the state the number of teachers not meeting the highly qualified provision. Moreover, school districts must send a letter notifying parents that their child is being taught by a teacher who is not "highly qualified." Despite the timeliness and urgency of this matter, the issue has been on the back burner for some time because of competing NCLB provisions and requirements. However, the deadline for schools, districts, and states to meet the highly qualified teacher provision is fast approaching. Thus, school districts and states are paying more attention to the highly qualified status of their teachers and beginning to seek ways to address the provision.
State policies are intended to provide support in meeting federal mandates. For example, in Illinois, HB 384 or Public Act 94-0208 (signed into law on July 14, 2005) states that a preservice education candidate must pass the subject-matter test in the discipline in which he or she will to teach prior to certification. The teacher preparation program may require passage of the test of subject-matter knowledge at any time during the program, including prior to student teaching. This law ensures teachers entering the teaching profession in Illinois are highly qualified and, therefore, not an issue for the schools and their districts.
What do we already know?
The district should have a list indicating which teachers are not meeting the highly qualified status. Perhaps there are 80 out of 300 teachers not meeting the highly qualified status. This is almost 1/3 of the district's teaching staff.
What data could be collected to provide a clearer picture?
We need to know more about who these teachers are: school level, grade, subject(s) they teach, years teaching, and other information.
How do we measure success once we have determined the concern to address?
To be determined once we understand the concern. In this sample case, the success is measured by using various strategies to reduce the number of teachers who are not highly qualified.
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