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NEA Position on 'Highly Qualified Effective Teacher' Mandate

NEA opposes the Commission on No Child Left Behind's proposed "highly qualified effective teacher" (HQET) mandate as an ill-conceived proposal that sets teachers up for failure.

  • This new mandate would apply to all reading, math, and science teachers. Such teachers would be evaluated in large part based on student learning gains on their students' standardized test scores. Another part of the rating would be based on a principal's evaluation.

  • Teachers in each state would all be ranked, and those who are in the top 75 percent each year of all teachers would be considered "highly qualified effective teachers." Those in the other 25 percent would have three additional years to meet the mandate and would also receive individualized professional development.

  • If teachers continue to not meet the HQET mandate, their principal would send a letter to their students' parents informing them their child's teacher was not effective. If after another couple of years they still do not meet this mandate, they would not be allowed to teach in a Title I school.

Five Reasons to Oppose the 'Highly Qualified Effective Teacher' Mandate

  1. It measures teacher performance mainly through use the use of standardized test scores, based on one of three NCLB-mandated tests in reading, math, and science.

  2. It automatically declares each year that 25 percent of teachers in every state are not "effective."

  3. It contains harsh penalties that limit employment options for teachers.

  4. It creates unfair and artificial divisions among teachers. Only teachers of the three core academic subjects would be covered by these new requirements. Elementary teachers in grades three and up would have to meet HQET three times -- one each for reading, math, and science -- since they teach all three subjects, while elementary teachers in K-2 may not be covered since the NCLB-mandated tests start in grade three. Middle and high school teachers of one of these three subjects would have to meet HQET in that one subject, while teachers of all other subjects would be unaffected. This proposal will likely exacerbate the teacher shortage problems we already face in these subjects.

  5. It ignores the reality that working conditions matter and impact teachers' ability to improve student learning. Teachers in schools with larger class sizes, safety problems, out-of-date textbooks and technology, and/or ineffective school leaders will be judged against teachers in schools that don't face these challenges. Thus, the mandate creates disincentives for teachers to go to and stay in such hard-to-staff schools.

 NEA opposes this proposal.

Tell your Representatives in Congress to reject the NCLB Commission's ill-conceived "highly qualified effective teacher" mandate. Ask them instead to support NEA's Positive Agenda for ESEA Reauthorization.

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