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Title II--Preparing, Training, And Recruiting High Quality Teachers And Principals
Teacher and Principal Training and Recruiting Fund, Grants to States (II-A)

Purpose

The Improving Teacher Quality State Grants program increases student achievement by elevating teacher and principal quality through recruitment, hiring, and retention strategies. The programs uses scientifically based professional development interventions and holds districts and schools accountable for improvements in student academic performance. This program was created because research shows that teacher quality is correlated with student academic achievement (Sanders and Rivers, 1996). Because each community may face a variety of challenges with respect to teacher quality, this program allows funds to be used for a wide array of interventions.

WHAT'S NEW--The No Child Left Behind Act

Increases Accountability for Student Performance

  • Puts quality teachers in the classroom. Each state education agency (SEA) must develop a plan to ensure that all teachers are "highly qualified" no later than the end of the 2005-06 school year. The plan must establish annual, measurable objectives for each local school district and school to ensure that they meet the "highly qualified" requirement. In general, a "highly qualified teacher" is a teacher with full certification, a bachelor's degree, and demonstrated competence in subject knowledge and teaching skills. See Section 9101(23) of the ESEA for the complete definition of a highly qualified teacher.
  • Develops a district improvement plan. If an SEA determines that a school district has failed to make progress in meeting annual objectives for two consecutive years, the district must develop an improvement plan to meet the objectives and the state must provide technical assistance to the district. If a school district fails to make progress toward the annual objectives and fails to make adequate yearly progress for three consecutive years, then the SEA must enter into an agreement with the district on the district's use of Title II funds.

Reduces Bureaucracy and Increases Flexibility

  • Consolidates programs and expands eligible activities. This new program combines the former Eisenhower Professional Development and the Class Size Reduction programs and greatly expands the number of activities allowed on the state and local levels. Therefore, each state and school district can tailor the interventions to target its unique challenges with respect to teacher quality.

Focuses on What Works

  • Employs scientifically based interventions. All activities supported with Title II funds must be based on a review of scientifically based research that shows how such interventions are expected to improve student achievement. For example, if a state decides to fund interventions such as professional development in math, the state must be able to show how the particular activities are grounded in a review of activities that have been correlated with increases in student achievement.

Empowers Parents

  • Informs the public on teacher quality. Every year, principals must attest to whether a school is in compliance with the "highly qualified" teacher requirement, and this information must be maintained at the school and district offices where it must be made available to the public upon request. In addition, each school district must report to the state annually on its progress in meeting the requirement that all teachers be "highly qualified" by the end of the 2005-06 school year. This information also must be included on the state report cards required under Title I.

How It Works

States must apply to the U.S. Department of Education for funding, and funds are allocated through a formula based on the school-age population and the number of children in poverty in each state. After reserving 1 percent for administration, states may use 2.5 percent of allotted funds for teacher quality activities. Ninety-five percent are distributed through subgrants to local districts using a formula that takes into account the school-age population and the number of children in poverty in each district. The remaining 2.5 percent of the funds are distributed on a competitive basis through subgrants to partnerships of high-need districts, schools of arts and sciences, and the school or department within institutions of higher education that prepares teachers.

States may undertake nearly 20 different kinds of state-level teacher quality activities including reforming teacher and principal certification and developing innovative teacher pay systems.

Subgrants to districts: School districts must submit an application to the state. Districts may undertake activities that fall into approximately 10 broad categories. These include professional development, recruitment initiatives, tenure reform, and merit pay.

Subgrants to partnerships: The SEA and the state agency for higher education must work together to determine the priorities and award competitive grants to eligible partnerships. Partnerships may use the funds to provide professional development for teachers, principals and paraprofessionals or to provide technical assistance to local districts in implementing high-quality professional development.

Key Requirements

When implementing Title II, Part A, states must:

  • Ensure that activities are aligned with state standards, and based on a review of scientifically based research and contribute to improvements in student academic achievement;
  • Coordinate the program with other professional development programs;
  • Develop professional development activities in a collaborative fashion and seek the input of teachers, principals, parents, administrators, paraprofessionals, and other school personnel;
  • Use funds to meet the requirement that all teachers be "highly qualified"by the end of the 2005-06 school year, develop annual objectives for measuring progress toward this requirement; and
  • Use funds to ensure that all current paraprofessionalswith instructional duties in any program supported with Title I, Part A, funds (other than translators and parent-involvement liaisons) have, by January 2006, completed at least two years of study at an institution of higher education, obtained an associate's (or higher) degree, or met a rigorous standard of quality and can demonstrate academic skills and knowledge.

How It Achieves Quality

Activities must be based on a review of scientifically based research that shows how such interventions are expected to improve student achievement. This means that there must be reliable and valid research evidence that the program activities are effective in helping teachers to improve student academic achievement.

How Performance Is Measured

States must use funds to ensure that all teachers are "highly qualified" by the end of the 2005-06 school year. Each year, beginning in the 2002-03 school year, the state must report on performance measures that indicate the percentage of teachers who are highly qualified and the percentage of teachers who are participating in high-quality professional development in order to become highly qualified. Each state may report on additional measures that the SEA determines to be important. Ultimately, the program's performance will be gauged by changes in student achievement over time as shown through the other NCLB reporting requirements. These reporting requirements include measures such as increases in the percentage of students who are proficient in reading by the end of the third grade and increases in the percentage of students who graduate from high school.

Key Activities For The State Education Agencies

State education agencies (SEAs) must:

  • Develop Title II state-level activities based on a review of scientific research that shows that such activities are associated with gains in student achievement.
  • Develop a plan for coordinating Title II professional development with professional development funded through other federal, state, and local programs.
  • Work with the state agency for higher education to identify priorities and criteria and to award subgrants on a competitive basis to eligible partnerships of school districts and institutions of higher education in order to carry out professional development and technical assistance activities.
  • Review annual reports submitted by districts on the percentage of teachers who are "highly qualified" and the percentage of teachers who are participating in professional development to help them to become "highly qualified" so that they can improve student achievement. The SEA must submit a report to the secretary of education each year on the percentage of teachers across the state who are "highly qualified" and who participated in high-quality professional development during the past year.
  • If an SEA determines, based on a review of reports submitted by districts, that a district has failed to make progress in meeting the annual measurable objectives (including the percentage of "highly qualified" teachers) for two consecutive years, the SEA must direct the school district to develop an improvement plan that will enable the agency to meet the annual objectives. During the development and implementation of the improvement plan, the SEA must provide technical assistance to the district and, if applicable, to schools within the district. If the district fails to make progress in meeting the annual objectives for three consecutive years and has failed to make adequate yearly progress as described under Title I, the SEA must enter into an agreement with the local district on the district's use of Title II funds.

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Last Modified: 09/14/2007