Parents, students sue over teacher quality

From: the San Jose Mercury News
Parents and students from the Hayward, Los Angeles and West Contra Costa school districts filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the U.S. Department of Education alleging that the department broke with laws meant to ensure a quality teacher in each classroom. When Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, lawmakers specified that teachers needed to be credentialed and teach in a subject where they received proper training in order to be considered “highly qualified.” Districts must notify parents each fall if their child’s teacher fails to meet those requirements. The department, however, allows states to count teacher interns as credentialed even though they are still in the process of earning certification. Maribel Heredia, a parent of two Hayward students who is suing the department, said during a press conference that her son’s first-grade teacher is an intern who leaves twice a week to finish up college classes -leaving Heredia’s son, Jose Aldana, with a substitute twice a week. But new teachers still need guidance, said Jane West, a vice president at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Intern programs fill a vital role in preparing the next wave of teachers. However those programs have changed from a training ground into a standard way of filling the holes left by retirees and those leaving the industry. “There’s a real price to be paid for that,” West said

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