ED PERFORMANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY
The Secretary's Third Annual Report on Teacher Quality
2004
Downloadable File PDF (6 MB)

Chapter Three: Update on State Teacher Quality Improvement Activities
"Teachers are among the most important people in our children's lives, and a good teacher can literally make a lifelong difference."
- President George W. Bush

Across the nation, states and institutions have launched a wide variety of innovative programs to meet the teacher quality challenge. Take, for instance, the case of The Texas A&M University System, whose Board of Regents unanimously passed a resolution in March 1999 establishing the Regents' Initiative for Excellence in Education (see http://partnerships.tamu.edu for more information). At the time of its passage, A&M System universities were experiencing declines in teacher production, especially in high- need areas. Yet, during this same time period, Texas public schools grew by more than 400,000 students. Faced with such explosive growth and declining supply, Texas schools were experiencing significant shortages of certified teachers. Thus, the initiative was undertaken, in part, to counter the declining pool of quality teachers and to improve A&M System productivity to better meet the needs of its public school constituents. With the passage of this resolution, the board authorized the development of a comprehensive, systematic framework for the continuous improvement of educational partnerships, educational research and educator preparation programs.

Today, with support from a Department of Education Teacher Quality Enhancement Partnership Grant (FY 1999), the A&M System is on its way to meeting its ambitious goals. The system has increased the production of teachers by 41 percent, increased its minority teacher production and increased teacher production in high-need fields, such as bilingual education or English as a second language, special education, foreign language, secondary math and secondary science (Texas A&M University System, 2003). While challenges remain, the Regent's Initiative demonstrates that the teacher quality challenge can be addressed with leadership and sustained partnerships among universities, community colleges, school districts and schools.

Importantly, the A&M System's example also demonstrates the importance of holding prospective teachers to high standards, while at the same time reducing bureaucratic impediments to teaching. In fact, research suggests that requirements for prospective teacher candidates need not be burdensome, especially if they are rigorous. Findings from a recent international comparative analysis of teacher education and development policies reveal that countries whose students perform better academically than students in the United States had fewer, albeit higher stakes, requirements for prospective teacher candidates (Wang, Coleman, Coley and Phelps, 2003).

"The Texas A&M University System has made a serious, long-term commitment to the reform of teacher education programs. As a result, we've experienced substantive and measurable improvements in teacher quality and production over the last five years. All of this is to the benefit of our universities and our public school partners, but most importantly, the benefits accrue to the school children of Texas."
- Leo Sayavedra, Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, Texas A&M University System

State Status and Progress in Addressing the Challenge

As has been previously noted in Chapter 2, information in this report has been compiled from analyses of data collected through the HEA Title II system. As data systems, both at the state level and within institutions of higher education, are enhanced to better accommodate the provisions of NCLB and the HEA, the Department expects to be able to further refine indicators of state teacher quality status and progress as well as to allow states to more accurately report their positive efforts in improving teacher preparation.
Between 2001 and 2003, the HEA Title II system has tracked changes in six key areas affecting the supply and demand of highly qualified teachers, including:

  • Alignment of teacher and student standards.
  • State certification requirements for new teachers.
  • Numbers of teachers receiving initial state certification.
  • State identification of low-performing teacher preparation programs.
  • Alternative routes to teaching.
  • Numbers of teachers on waivers.

Understandably, the process of instituting data collection, developing analytic capacity, as well as instituting fundamental reforms of teacher recruitment, preparation and support mechanisms takes time. Even when well implemented, the positive effects of these changes may not become fully realized and observable for several years. In many of these areas, though, states and territories have made progress. However, there are areas where progress is less consistent on a state-by-state basis, and there are areas that show few indicators of improvement. An update on state status and teacher quality improvement activities for each of the six key areas tracked by the HEA Title II data collection and reporting system follows.

Alignment of Teacher and Student Standards

States report having made progress in linking, aligning and coordinating teacher certification or licensure requirements with state content standards for students.

In the early 1980s, as the nation turned to standards-based reform for schools, the teaching profession became engaged in conversations about the alignment of professional standards with student content and performance standards. Today, NCLB calls for the improvement and monitoring of student academic achievement. One key to student success lies in linking the standards required of teachers to those required of students and, most importantly, to students' achievement.

The first component of this link is the establishment of student content standards, which are necessary not only for consistency of student curriculum but also for establishing teaching content standards. By 2003, 53 states and territories reported having established those standards for all K-12 students.

The second component necessary for the alignment of teacher and student content standards is the establishment of standards related to teachers. To be effective, these teacher standards should apply to certification and licensure and include content standards for each teaching field within a specified span of student grade levels. By 2001, most states had already made considerable progress in implementing standards necessary to obtain teacher certification or licensure. Between 2001 and 2003, three additional states--Mississippi, Montana and New Jersey--developed certification and licensure standards for the first time. By 2003, 49 of 54 states and territories had developed standards in these areas.

Similarly, by 2003, the vast majority of states and territories (52) had instituted an overarching set of teacher standards that currently apply to all teaching fields and grade levels (see Figure 1). This represents an increase in the number of states and territories with such standards since 2001.

Figure 1: Number of states that have set teacher standards in specific fields: 2001 and 2003

 
All levels
 
2001 (N=53)
2003 (N=54)
All Teaching Fields
50
52
Arts
38
43
Bilngual Education
33
39
Early Childhood Education
6
7
English/Language Arts
19
25
Language Other Than English
32
40
Mathematics
18
22
Science
19
23
Social Studies
17
21
Special Education
39
44
Technology in Teaching
25
34
Vocational/Technical Education
10
10

Notes: Figure 1 presents teacher standards for "all grade levels" in each field. Information on teacher standards in specific grade levels can be found at www.title2.org. For purposes of this figure, the term "state" refers to the 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.
Source: Title II State Reporting System, 2001 and 20

While impressive in total, not all fields have the same level of standard setting across grade levels and across states. By 2003, more than 40 states had set teacher standards in arts and special education; however, only 25 states had set English language standards, and fewer than 25 states had set standards in math and science.

Between 2001 and 2003, progress has been made in some states in implementing teacher standards in specific program areas. Program areas that have seen the greatest increase in the number of states setting standards during this period include early childhood education for grades K-3; mathematics, science and social studies in the middle grades; and vocational and technical education in secondary grades.

As more states develop standards for student content and teacher certification, the linkages between these two sets of standards can be established. The number of states and territories that have established a policy that links, aligns or coordinates teacher certification or licensure requirements with state content standards for students has grown to 41 in 2003, from 35 in 2001. Of the 41 states that have established linked standards, all but Utah and Wyoming have implemented their various alignment policies.

While it is critical that state student and teacher standards be rigorous and comprehensive, the body of research on the quality of such standards--and their alignment--is still emerging. However, serious questions have been raised about the quality of student content standards, as well as the corresponding teacher standards. For instance, one recent review of 30 states' student content standards concluded that the average quality of such standards was only fair and that significant variations exist across states (Cross, Rebarber, Torres and Finn, 2004). Similarly, a recent review of 20 states' teacher content standards revealed a decidedly mixed picture of quality (Tracy and Walsh, 2004). The HEA Title II Web site (http://www.title2.org) contains Internet links and other documents that describe state standards in more detail. These resources may be useful to researchers and policymakers interested in conducting additional research on standards and alignment policies.

In recognition of the importance of ensuring significant content knowledge among prospective teachers, states report making changes in certification requirements.

State Certification Requirements for New Teachers

Under NCLB, state certification or licensure is a critical measure of a teacher's preparation and training to enter the classroom. Previously, this meant completing a traditional teacher preparation program but in recent years has expanded to include those teachers entering the profession through a state or district-developed alternative route. Most teacher preparation programs prepare students using a combination of subject matter course work, instruction in pedagogy and student teaching experiences. Prospective teachers are evaluated with the use of assessments, grade point average minimums, structured course work and program recommendations. The HEA Title II data collection and reporting system sheds light on some of the key features of state certification requirements for new teachers, including:

  • Requirements for a content-specific bachelor's degree.
  • Various assessment requirements,including those measuring academic content knowledge.
  • Pass rates for academic content assessments of prospective teachers.

Overall, state progress in raising standards for prospective teachers is mixed, and significant barriers still exist for teachers pursuing traditional routes to certification and licensure. Additional information about the requirements for initial teaching certification or licensure can be found in the appendix of this report.

By 2003, the majority of states and territories (39)--including the majority of the largest teacher-producing states--reported that a content-specific bachelor's degree is required for initial certification (see Figure 2). The number of states and territories implementing this requirement grew substantially from 2002, with eight additional states reporting a subject-area bachelor's degree requirement as part of their criteria for all initial certificates. Those states and territories not yet requiring a uniform content-specific bachelor's degree for all initial certificates they offered include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Guam, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Virgin Islands, Washington and Wisconsin.

The variety of assessments that states employ for initial certification include those measuring basic skills, professional know-ledge, academic content, other content and/or teaching special populations. Between 2002 and 2003, some progress had been made to include assessments across the nation, as evidenced by Nevada and the Virgin Islands adopting assessments as part of initial certification. However, Idaho, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming did not employ teacher assessments for any initial certificates they offered in 2003.

Another requirement that many states employ involves giving assessments to individuals seeking initial teaching certification or licensure to ensure their qualifications, including basic skills assessments at the time of entry into a teacher preparation program. In 2003, the majority of states and territories (47) used this criterion for initial teaching or licensure qualifications.

Under NCLB, new elementary teachers are required to demonstrate subject area competency by taking a state content assessment. New secondary teachers also may use content assessments as a means of demonstrating subject matter knowledge. By the 2001-2002 academic year, 34 states and territories required teachers to take academic content assessments for initial teacher certification or licensure (see Figure 3). Between the 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 academic years, Arizona, New York,3 North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Vermont instituted content assessments for the first time.

As has been noted in previous HEA Title II reports, for those states and territories that employ academic content assessments for which data are available (see supplementary data tables in the appendix to this report and http://www.title2.org for more information), most have set the minimum passing score--or cut score--so low as to screen out only the very lowest performing individuals. For all practical purposes, this means that such assessments do not guarantee professional quality (Mitchell and Barth, 1999). It is, therefore, not surprising that pass rates reported by institutions of higher education are routinely reported as being 90 percent or higher, on average, for teacher candidates in most states. In fact, in the 2001-2002 academic year, Arkansas, Michigan, Oregon and West Virginia all reported that 100 percent of their teacher candidates passed state academic content assessments. These states all require passage of the assessments for program completion; West Virginia requires passage for certification.

Research suggests that licensure requirements are unnecessarily burdensome, costly and time-prohibitive, constituting significant barriers to entry into the field of teaching (Hess, 2001; Hess, 2004). Additionally, barriers beyond those related to certification and licensure continue to deter effective teachers from teaching in the nation's neediest schools. For instance, a recent study from the New Teacher Project identifies that local hiring processes and timelines may be significant barriers. This study found that in a group of large urban districts, complex rules regarding teacher transfers and job posting requirements became barriers for prospective qualified teachers. Due to the bureaucratic delays, these teachers took other positions in surrounding suburban districts, which could make hiring decisions significantly more quickly. Surveys of these prospective teachers indicated that they would have rather worked in the urban setting (Levin and Quinn, 2003).

Since minimum passing scores for most state academic content assessments are set low, states tend to screen out only the very lowest performing teacher candidates.

Barriers for teachers pursuing traditional routes to certification and licensure still exist.

The New Teacher Project

Urban and rural schools have historically had more problems in recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers than suburban schools. The New Teacher Project (TNTP) hopes to alleviate this problem over the next three years. TNTP is a national nonprofit organization, dedicated to increasing the number of outstanding individuals who become public school teachers. TNTP works with states, districts and universities to create and run alternative routes to certification, offer high-need certified teacher recruitment programs, reform school district human resource practices and develop new teacher training and certification programs.

Since 1997, TNTP has attracted and prepared more than 10,000 new, high-quality teachers and launched more than 40 programs in 20 states. In 2003, these programs were responsible for delivering more than 10 percent of all new teachers in Atlanta, Baltimore and Los Angeles and more than 20 percent of all new hires in New York City and Washington, D.C.

With support from the Department of Education, TNTP will be expanding its work into two high-need urban school systems and one rural state to: establish effective and efficient hiring processes, create a local teacher hiring alliance of key decision-makers who implement policy reforms to overcome barriers to timely and effective hiring, and increase the number of highly qualified teachers hired in the pilot districts. This initiative is expected to: (1) change the actual teacher hiring outcomes by increasing the number and quality of applicants, (2) raise the quality of actual hires and (3) begin the school year with fewer vacancies.

Numbers of Teachers Receiving Initial State Certification

States continue to report significant variation in the number of teachers receiving initial state certification.

More than 310,000 teachers received initial certification in 2003, although only a
small number of states were responsible for producing most of these teachers. The 10 states responsible for producing more than half of all new teachers in the United States in 2003 include (in rank order): California, New York, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Arizona, Virginia and Ohio. Because each of these states also imports a sizable proportion of prospective teachers trained by teacher preparation programs in other states, teacher preparation policies in these 10 states disproportionately influence national trends.

Between 2001 and 2003, states reported that there was a 4 percent increase in the number of teachers receiving initial certification across the nation. Although this increase seems modest collectively, individual state changes ranged from a decrease of more than 50 percent in Connecticut to an increase of more than 103 percent in North Carolina (see Figure 4). Twelve states indicated increases of greater than 30 percent, while seven states indicated decreases of more than 30 percent. Since the HEA Title II data collection and reporting system does not collect the information needed to explain the many factors contributing to state reporting of such large variations, further study is needed to shed light on its significance.

While there is wide variation in state practice, in 2003 almost 20 percent of teachers received their training in a state other than the one in which they were certified (see Figure 5). States that granted initial certification to a significant number (i.e., greater than 40 percent) of teachers who actually completed their teacher preparation program in another state include Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Washington and Wyoming. In contrast, Arkansas, Indiana and Puerto Rico granted initial certification to fewer than 10 percent of teachers prepared outside their own state or territory.

Teacher distribution and recruitment is a national issue of the first order. In 2003, states reported that almost 20 percent of teachers received their training in a state other than the one in which they were certified. Some states reported that they imported more than 40 percent of the teachers to whom they granted initial certification.

State Identification of Low-Performing Teacher Preparation Programs

States report having made progress in implementing criteria for assessing teacher preparation program performance.

Title II of HEA requires states to implement teacher preparation program accountability measures, including instituting a procedure to identify and assist low-performing programs of teacher preparation within institutions of higher education. Most states rely on some aspects of their program approval process to make an at-risk or low-performing determination. Because states are likely to use the program approval process, institutions tend to be reviewed cyclically, rather than annually. Program approval or review processes tend to occur in three- to five-year cycles, although exceptions exist.

States are solely responsible for establishing the procedure they use to identify low-performing institutions. In 2003, the majority of states and territories (48) reported implementing criteria for assessing teacher preparation program performance (see Figure 6). While states are generally using, or adapting, existing program accreditation and review processes to meet the Title II requirements, teacher preparation program performance should be evaluated on the success of newly produced teachers at raising student achievement. Initiatives, such as those being launched by the Carnegie Corporation of New York (Teachers for a New Era initiative), the Ohio Partner-ship for Accountability (which includes 51 schools of education in the state, the Ohio Department of Education and the Board of Regents) and the Renaissance Partnership for Improving Teacher Quality, all offer data-driven approaches to improving teacher preparation programs (Carey, 2004).

As indicated in Figure 6, between 2002 and 2003, five additional states and one territory (Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, North Dakota and the Virgin Islands) included passing rates on certification assessments (of any type) as part of their criteria for assessing the performance of their teacher preparation programs. Further, two additional states and one territory (Indiana, New Jersey and Guam) included additional criteria related to teachers’ knowledge and skills.

Examples of how states have provided technical assistance to schools at risk of becoming low performing illustrate a variety of approaches. For example:

  • In Kentucky, institutions identified as at risk or low performing are given intensive technical assistance over a two-year period from Education Professional Standards Board staff. Following two years of technical assistance, a low-performing institution is subject to a second full accreditation review. Kentucky begins the technical assistance process by requiring the institution to conduct a thorough assessment of its strengths and weaknesses. The program administrator completes a narrative on a variety of topics, including how the institution's curriculum is aligned with the state's core curriculum, with efforts to provide remediation to failing students and with program admissions requirements.
  • Low-performing programs in Illinois are identified by the State Board of Education through the accreditation process, which requires a visit to the college or university every seven years by a team of higher education and public school personnel. Programs placed on probation by the board are classified as at risk. Failure to demonstrate appropriate remediation within three years results in a determination of low performing. Technical assistance includes assigning a state board staff member to the program; visiting the campus within 30 days of the probation decision to meet with program personnel; identifying available resources, including workshops; recommending expert consultants in content and program design; visiting the campus each year the program is under remediation; and monitoring progress through annual reports submitted to the state board. To date, three institutions have been identified as becoming at risk of being classified as low performing by Illinois.
  • In Michigan, any institution identified as at risk will be assigned to work with one or more mentor or support institutions to address specific areas of need. This approach reflects the belief of the Michigan Department of Education that peer institutions are the best practical source for meaningful technical assistance.

For the current reporting cycle, nine states identified 25 institutions of higher education with teacher preparation programs (of approximately 1,200 institutions with teacher preparation programs nationwide) as either being at risk or low performing (see Table 1).

Teacher Preparation Program Reform in Louisiana
In compliance with the Higher Education Act of 1998, Louisiana created a comprehensive Teacher Preparation Accountability System to assess the performance of teacher preparation programs within the state. The accountability system, which uses an Institutional Index and Quantity Index in calculating a Teacher Preparation Performance Score, is an important measure of the state's overall educational reform. The accountability system is intended to demonstrate to the public that Louisiana's recently redesigned teacher preparation programs are delivering results and that its public and private colleges of education are working diligently to produce high-quality, effective classroom teachers.

The high marks for Louisiana's teacher education programs are attributable to a variety of system-wide and institution-specific efforts undertaken under Louisiana's overall education reform initiative. To increase the quantity of qualified educators, all public and private colleges are increasing their recruitment efforts, especially for students in the critical shortage areas of math, science and special education. They are also providing additional support to help students meet the new Praxis score requirements and providing additional mentoring to new teachers during their first two years of teaching. The University of Louisiana System, which produces most of the state's education graduates, launched an initiative in 2003 to raise the test scores required for entry into teacher education programs.

In addition, intensive teacher education quality improvement efforts at Southern University's Baton Rouge campus have been so successful that the university was selected to make a presentation at the Fourteenth Annual Education Trust Conference in Washington, D.C., in November 2003.

During the first phase of the accountability system (2001-2002), only the performance of regular and alternate certification students on the Praxis test was assessed. The following year (2002-2003) the formula was expanded to make the accountability scores an even more meaningful catalyst for continued reform.

Alternative Routes to Teaching

States report opening up routes to the classroom for prospective teachers. More states have approved one or more alternative routes, and many are currently considering, or have proposed, new or additional alternative routes to certification.

Increasingly, states are creating multiple pathways into the classroom to reach individuals who have the desire to teach but who did not attend a traditional teacher preparation program (Feistritzer, 2004; Mayer, Decker, Glazerman and Silva, 2003). As in traditional teacher preparation programs, teacher candidates in alternative routes generally are required to pass a subject matter or basic skills test. They also tend to receive specific pedagogical training. The appendix of this report provides additional information about the characteristics of alternative routes implemented in states and territories.

In creating multiple pathways into teaching, the Florida Department of Education, with support from a FY 2000 Teacher Quality Enhancement State Grant, established the K-20 Partnership Committee to design and implement a competency-based alternative teacher certification program with a strong peer-mentoring component. Florida's K-20 Partnership Committee reviewed and compared three different pilot models of alter-native certification programs that had recently been implemented by five Florida school districts. Additionally, national experts shared information with the committee on historical trends and best practices in other states in the development and implementation of alternative certification programs.

The committee identified appropriate program components, collaborative delivery systems and essential training for peer mentors for the development of a statewide program of alternative professional preparation and certification. The program features on-the-job training via distance learning, experienced peer mentors and collaborative implementation partners. For more information about Florida's alternate certificate program, see http://www.altcertflorida.org/index.htm.

By 2003, the vast majority of states and territories (47) reported having approved one or more alternative routes to the classroom for prospective teachers (see Figure 7). This represents a net increase of three states since 2001. However, not all states with approved routes to certification report actually implementing these routes. Of the 47 states reporting approved alternative routes to certification, 45 states are actively implementing any alternative routes. Only Alaska, Arizona, District of Columbia, Guam, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virgin Islands and West Virginia reported not implementing any alternative routes to teaching.4

Of the states and territories with approved alternative routes to teaching, several states offer more than one route. In all, states reported a total of 89 alternative routes across the nation. While all states with alternative routes require a bachelor's degree (often in a field related to the subject the candidate will be teaching), 60 percent of such alternative routes require practice teaching of candidates (49 of 82 reporting) and 85 percent use the same assessments as are used for traditional route certification (74 of 87 reporting).

Between 2001 and 2003, many states changed their approach to alternative certification. Between two and five states each year have changed their alternative route policies either to include or exclude alternative routes or to change the implementation status of approved alternative routes. In 2003, a total of 21 states were considering or had proposed new or additional alternative routes to certification. Only Alaska and Pennsylvania reported not having approved alternative routes, nor are they considering any.

The National Center for Alternative Certification
The National Center for Alternative Certification was founded in 2003 through a Department of Education grant to the National Center for Education Information. The National Center for Alternative Certification is the nation's first comprehensive and independent source of information about alternative routes to teacher certification. The center's Web site (http://www.teach-now.org) features an interactive searchable database that allows individual sites providing alternative teacher certification programs to post data and information about their programs and allows individuals who are seeking to become teachers to search for alternate route programs that best serve their needs. The site also includes contact information for each state that authorizes alternative teacher certification routes, entry and program requirements for each route, information about reciprocity and acceptance of teaching certificates across state lines and statistical and demographic data about participants in alternative teacher certification programs. In addition, the user-friendly site includes recent research findings, links to organizations providing additional resources, information about the No Child Left Behind Act and the National Center for Education Information's publication, Alternative Teacher Certification: A State-by-State Analysis 2004
In fall 2004, the center plans to provide technical assistance and outreach to states and other entities seeking information on alternative routes to certification. Conferences and workshops will be organized to discuss the implications of using alternative routes to certification for staffing schools with highly qualified teachers, as well as promising practices and qualitative issues in alternative routes to certification. Further, technical assistance teams will develop alternative route implementation models drawn from the nation's most successful programs and will use them as guides when responding to requests for technical advice, support and assistance. The center will create a national referral system to connect appropriate technical assistance team members with constituents. In addition, key constituents (such as Transition to Teaching grantees) will be organized into a self-sustaining communications network to address issues and share practices.

Teachers on Waivers

The numbers and distribution of teachers on waivers remains problematic. States report that the problem of underprepared teachers is worse on average in districts that serve large proportions of high-poverty children.

Criteria for states to grant waivers or emergency permits to teachers vary consider-ably across the country. One of the ways school districts address teacher shortages is to allow a teacher to teach a subject other than the one in which he or she is trained if it is in a high-need area. Many states grant waivers to teachers who have made progress toward fulfilling certification requirements but have not met one or two conditions, such as taking a required examination or completing course work. Additionally, some states issue waivers to teachers who were certified in another state but have not met all of the new state's requirements. As with certification, there is no uniform national waiver definition.

In an attempt to provide consistency in the number of teachers across the nation who lacked full state certification, ED established a uniform waiver definition as part of the HEA Title II data collection system. Under HEA Title II, a waiver is defined as any temporary or emergency permit, license, or other authorization that permits an individual to teach in a public school classroom without having received an initial certificate or license from that state or any other state.

Included in the HEA Title II number of teachers on waivers are individuals:

  • Teaching on temporary or emergency licenses or permits.
  • Pursuing an alternative route to certification.
  • Teaching as long-term substitutes.

Excluded from the HEA Title II definition are those who:

  • Are certified in another state.
  • Hold Level I, II and III certificates as defined by National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification.
  • Are teaching out-of-field.
  • Are on provisional licenses that only require teaching before full certification or licensure.

Consequently, the number of teachers on waivers as reported by states through the HEA Title II data collection and reporting system should not be equated with those that states define as not being highly qualified under NCLB.5 Possession of a state teaching certificate or license does not necessarily mean that the content-related teacher quality requirements of NCLB are fulfilled. Conversely, some teachers who have participated in alternate route programs can be considered highly qualified but might have been included in this waiver count. In an effort to coordinate the definitions, ED will allow states to determine if their alternative route candidates are on waivers or are fully certified in the October 2004 state HEA Title II reports.

Moreover, because the HEA Title II waiver definition differs from what most states consider as a waiver from full state certification, data collection has posed a challenge for states. Reasons for this difficulty vary from state to state, but include issues such as the timing of data collections, the level of data collection (district vs. state) and definitional issues within and across states. Consequently, caution should be used in interpreting these data. Additional information about the numbers of teachers on waivers can be found in the appendix and online at http://www.title2.org.

According to the HEA Title II data collection and reporting system, in the 2002-2003 academic year approximately 6 percent of teachers nationwide (i.e., about 180,000 teachers) did not possess a state certification or license to teach. Such teachers are more likely to teach in districts that serve large proportions of high-poverty children than all other districts (8 percent vs. 5 percent). These aggregate figures, as reported by states, have remained essentially constant for the last three years.

In the 2002-2003 academic year, a total of seven states and territories reported having 10 percent or more of all public school teachers on waivers: California, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Texas, Virgin Islands and Virginia (see Figure 8). In contrast, 12 states and the District of Columbia reported having less than 1 percent of all public school teachers on waivers: Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Washington and Wyoming.

In that same year, a total of eight states reported having 10 percent or more teachers on waivers in high-poverty districts (see Figure 9). Of note, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan and West Virginia were the only states that reported having a lower percentage of teachers on waivers in high-poverty districts than they had teachers on waivers in any district regardless of poverty status.

According to the HEA Title II data collection and reporting system, between the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 academic years the percentage of teachers on waivers increased in 22 states and fell in 22 states (see Figure 10). In high-poverty districts, 21 states experienced an increase in the percentage of teachers on waivers while 20 states identified decreases.


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