Highly Qualified?

Can you stand one more NCLB story? (I’m not sure I can.)

In April, my principal insisted that I was not a highly qualified teacher. I turned to the state department of education for guidance, and received the following communication via e-mail:

Special education teachers in 7th & 8th grades, who are the Teacher of Record, need to be HQ in the core content area of Elementary Education and NOT every core content. They are to be HQ in the same area as the special education teachers in grades K-6, Elementary Education. Assuming that the teacher has a valid Special Education Certificate in the appropriate disability area, [and] if the teacher has taken the … test and passed, they are HQ as a Teacher of Record. If the teacher was HQ through the HOUSSE Rubric in Elementary content before June 30, 2007, they may continue to use the HOUSSE to be HQ.

That, I thought, settled the matter. Alas, it was not to be.

A couple of weeks ago, reps from the state department of education descended on our district. One of the reps compared the teachers’ certifications with teaching assignments. I was among 28 teachers in the district declared to be not highly qualified, because supposedly I am teaching out of my area of certification.

I was told that I had two choices: take a state exam or take classes to become highly qualified to teach language arts. I decide, instead, to scour my transcripts for every possible English credit I could muster. (I need 24 to be considered highly qualified.)

I also tracked down the e-mail I received from the state in April and forwarded it to the district’s curriculum coordinator, who called the state department of education Wednesday. After what I assume was a lengthy and convoluted phone call, the curriculum coordinator sent me and the other middle school special ed teacher this e-mail:

I spoke with [someone in the state department of education] today. She has agreed that based on what you have told her about your current teaching assignments, you both are highly qualified. Here is the catch: You both must be teaching LA, not reading. … If you are truly teaching reading, you have to be HQ and take classes or exam. … It is all in the words you choose when talking to the[m].

So, as of 24 hours ago, I am highly qualified to teach language arts—again.

I wonder what my status will be next week?

Posted on October 1, 2009, in highly qualified teachers, NCLB. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. They are really making you jump through hoops for those big bucks you ar beign paid.

    And, I thought NYC was bad!

  2. Next week you’ll be making a difference in the lives of kids who sorely need a positive role model… Just like you did this week and at the Jewel of the Desert School. Hopefully this year, no vandalism.

  3. wow…so they should be saving the schools, yeah? what about the kids? insane!

  4. Do your job real good
    kids do excellent in all
    school rules change each day
    So happy now to be gone
    own person retired and poor

  5. Breathe deeply, MMT. It’s going to be all right. (Not sure how, but knowing your resourcefulness, I know it’ll be ok.)

    Would you be willing to share this with the EduCarnival?

  6. Your story is both frustrating and encouraging. So glad that you are ok!! I don’t think that anyone really knows the rules and it seems to change daily. We just had to switch around students in just about every class in our school due to NCLB, and $$$$$

  7. I was told last week by my district personnel director that I was not highly qualified according to the state department of education and NCLB guidelines. This comes in my 30th year of successful teaching, culminated by being honored as Oregon Social Studies Teacher of the Year in 2008. I have taught classes for local universities, have given presentations at conferences from the local to national levels, received two Fulbrights, and have attended over forty conferences, institutes and seminars during my career. Now I am on an individual teacher plan for achieving HQS. I’d be really mad if it were NOT so damn funny and indicative of the NCLB madness. Thanks, GW

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