Lawsuit Attacks Alternative-Route ‘Loophole’ in NCLB Law

From: Education Week
A group of California parents, students, and community groups is suing the U.S. Department of Education for allowing alternative-route teachers who are not yet certified to be designated as “highly qualified” under the No Child Left Behind Act. Under the federal law, to be highly qualified, teachers must have full state certification or licensure, in addition to a bachelor’s degree and evidence that they know each subject they teach. But Education Department regulations allow uncertified candidates who are in alternative-route programs to teach for up to three years while still seeking certification. Backers of the lawsuit, Renee v. Spellings, which was filed today in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco,said they are concerned because many of those teachers end up in schools that are low-performing and enroll higher concentrations of students of color. The lawsuit drew support from members of the teacher education community, who pointed out that the NCLB law is intended to reduce the number of out-of-field teachers and uncertified teachers in public school classrooms.
“Yet the Department of Education has created this large loophole to allow uncertified teachers who haven’t completed a preparation program to receive a highly qualified designation,” Jane West, the vice president of government relations for the Washington-based American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, said in a statement. “Parents are not being fully informed of the real status of these teachers who are not yet credentialed to serve as teachers.”

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