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Two Studies Suggest NCLB's 'Highly Qualified Teacher' Rules Aren't Helping (August, 2007)

Two new reports are shedding some much-needed light on the issue of highly qualified teachers under NCLB.

One study, released by the Department of Education, found that while some 90 percent of teachers may be considered "highly qualified'' under the federal law, that states used very different standards to define the HQ status and that the characteristics of teachers in high-poverty schools who met the HQ standard differed significantly from those for teachers in more affluent schools. Teachers in the disadvantaged schools hold fewer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in their fields and are more likely to be new to the profession than their peers.

This large-scale federal study, undertaken by the American Institutes for Research and the Rand Corporation, is part of an ongoing congressionally mandated evaluation of the federal Title I program for disadvantaged students.

report from the Center for Education Policy, which examined how states and school districts have implemented NCLB’s teacher quality requirements, found that, according to state and district officials, the HQ teacher requirements have had minimal or no impact on student achievement and have not had a major impact on teacher effectiveness. The report also discusses state and district implementation of the federal requirements to equitably distribute experienced, highly qualified teachers among higher and lower poverty schools.