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?