California Department of Education
Taking Center Stage – Act II

NCLB and California Requirements for Highly Qualified Teachers and Principals

Title II, Section 2101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (Outside Source), of 2002—Preparing, Training, and Recruiting Highly Qualified Teachers and Principals—emphasizes the importance of professional development for both administrators and teachers. It provides grants to state educational agencies, local educational agencies, state agencies for higher education, and eligible partnerships. The grants are intended to (1) increase student academic achievement through strategies such as improving teacher and principal quality and increasing the number of highly qualified teachers in the classroom and highly qualified principals and assistant principals in schools; and (2) hold local educational agencies and schools accountable for improvements in student academic achievement.

California’s response to NCLB and definition of highly qualified teachers are on the California Department of Education (CDE) Web. In addition, Essential Program Component number four (EPC #4) calls for fully credentialed teachers, and SB 472 (Chapter 524, Statutes of 2006) provides professional development for teachers of mathematics and reading.

California requires all teachers to complete a California Teacher of English Learners (CTEL) (Outside Source), Certificate for teaching English learners. In addition, the possession of a Bilingual, Cross-cultural, Language, and Academic Development (BCLAD) credential or equivalent, authorizes a teacher to provide instruction to English learners in a language other than English, though this is not a requirement for a teacher to meet the definition of highly qualified teacher under NCLB.1

The Alliance for Excellent Education made the following recommendations for middle school professional development:2

  • States should make certain that new and veteran teachers receive specialized middle school professional preparation, in either university or college education programs or through high-quality induction and professional development programs. This preparation would provide them with the knowledge and skills to meet the developmental needs of young adolescent students.
  • States should provide veteran middle schools teachers who do not have an academic major or the equivalent of an academic major with the professional development resources they need to meet the state’s high objective uniform standard so that high-quality teachers can remain in the classroom.
  • States should ensure that the criteria for major equivalents in teacher-preparation programs are rigorous in content and will enable teachers to have the necessary academic knowledge to instruct students at high standards.
  • States should end the practice of requiring add-ons for teachers seeking middle school certification, which only makes it harder for middle schools to attract highly qualified teachers.

What is a Professional Learning Community?

Professional Learning for Those Who Support Middle Grades Educators

1 NCLB Teacher Requirements Resource Guide. Sacramento: California Department of Education, 2004.
2NCLB and Middle Schools: Confronting the Challenges (DOC; Outside Source), Policy Brief (July 2003).

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