December 16, 2003, Extra Credit
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December 16, 2003
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 December 15
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Final Exam Week: True/False On Highly Qualified Teachers

True or False: No Child Left Behind forces experienced teachers to take a test to prove their qualifications.

Answer: False.
Because research has demonstrated a clear correlation between student academic achievement and teacher quality, No Child Left Behind requires that any public school teacher who teaches a core academic subject be "highly qualified." The law includes provisions reflecting the differences between elementary and middle and high school teachers as well as between newly hired teachers and those with experience.

In general, under No Child Left Behind, a highly qualified teacher must have:

  • A bachelor's degree.
  • Full state certification and licensure as defined by the state.
  • Demonstrated competency, as defined by the state, in each core academic subject he or she teaches.
Experienced teachers must meet the three basic requirements by the end of the 2005–06 school year. They must have a bachelor's degree and full state certification. For the third requirement, there are multiple ways for experienced teachers to demonstrate subject area competency. Teachers may opt for taking a subject matter test (as determined by the state) or demonstrate competency through the state system of high, objective, uniform state standard of evaluation (HOUSSE). In addition, middle and high school teachers may demonstrate competency if they have a major (or its equivalent) or advanced credentials in the subject they teach.

Teachers interested in learning more about No Child Left Behind's highly qualified teacher requirements can order a free copy of the U.S. Department of Education's "Toolkit for Teachers" by:

  • Calling the U.S. Department of Education's Publications Center (ED Pubs) toll-free at 1-877-4-ED-PUBS (1-877-433-7827); TTY/TDD: 1-877-576-7734; FAX: 1-301-470-1244.
  • Ordering online at
  • E-mailing
  • Writing to request a copy: ED Pubs, P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398.
Note: The No Child Left Behind Extra Credit will not be published the weeks of Dec. 22 and Dec. 29. Publication will resume on Jan. 5, 2004.


About Extra Credit
NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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Last Modified: 12/16/2003