The U.S. Department of Education is committed to improving the quality of teachers in the classroom. The following are excerpts from a recent article in The Bay City Times (MI) highlighting qualified teachers in Michigan schools:
Nine out of 10 teachers in Bay County are considered highly qualified to teach under federal requirements. Teachers around the state are doing comparably well, according to a new state report that shows 91 percent of Michigans public school teachers already meet the standard set by the national No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
At Bangor Township Schools, 104 of the districts 108 instructors are considered highly qualified by the national guideline. Superintendent Michael A. Andress credits this to the districts hiring practices, relative young age of teachers and accreditation requirements.
Every new teacher we've hired in the past few years has been a 100-percent match, he said. The teachers not considered highly qualified can go back to school, take professional development, pass a test or tests, or show expertise by presenting a list of professional activities and college credentials to a local committee .
Other than the short time frame and difficulty of certifying veteran teachers, Andress said he thinks this mandate is good for education.
It may be a touch too picky, he said. But I think its good that we have people trained in the area to teach those things.
All teachers at the district are state certified, and teach in either their major or minor area of study, which is easy for the district because of its size, said Superintendent Carolyn Wierda.
Most agree that Michigan was in good shape to meet the highly qualified requirements because the state, since 1993, requires teachers to pass a basic skills test plus subject matter tests for middle and high school or a general elementary test to teach younger students.
The playing field has changed a little, and they havent taken their test yet, Kent said. Teachers have through June 2006 to meet the national requirement. The teachers will have to be highly qualified and meet the standards, or they will not be employed, Kent said.
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