Questions And Answers

For a complete listing of Q & A provided by TEA, access the document:  TEA Guidance:  Status of NCLB HQ Teacher Requirement 2014
http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=25769815391

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and HQ Teacher Requirements

Title II, Part A and Title I, Part A place particular emphasis on the need for LEAs to ensure that teachers of a core academic subject meet certain minimum requirements they need to become effective educators.  The requirements to be considered “highly qualified” are that teachers hold at least a bachelor’s degree, be fully certified in Texas, and demonstrate competency in the core academic subject area they are teaching.  Special education teachers must be appropriately certified as a special education teacher, as required by the December 3, 2004, reauthorization of IDEA.

What is the definition of a highly qualified teacher?

The requirement that teachers be highly qualified applied to all public elementary or secondary school teachers employed by a local education agency who teach a core academic subject.  “Highly Qualifed” means that the teacher:

  1. Has obtained full Texas teacher certification, including appropriate special education certification for special education teachers, and has not had certification requirements waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis; and
  2. Holds a minimum of a bachelor’s degree; and
  3. Has demonstrated subject matter competency in each of the academic subjects in which the teacher teachers, in a manner deterred by TEA and in compliance with Section 910 (123) of ESEA.

What is meant by “core academic subjects?”

The term “core academic subjects” means English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign, languages (languages other than English), civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography.  While the statue includes “arts” in the core academic subjects, it does not specifically define “arts”; therefore, States must make this determination.  TEA has defined “arts” as music, (including band and choir directors), art, theatre, and dance.

Courses that are outside of the core academic subject areas (including Career and Technical Education Courses) that are accepted by SBOE for graduation credit in a core academic subject are considered core academic subject courses.

Are speech and journalism considered to be in the core academic subject areas?

Speech and journalism do have separate certifications but they are not among the core academic subject areas defined in statue.  However, if these courses substitute for credit in one of the core academic subject areas the “highly qualified” requirements do apply to teachers of these subjects.  For example, if the LEA substitutes English course credit for completing the Journalism course, then the Journalism teacher must meet the highly qualified teacher requirement for English.

Which teachers must meet the NCLB highly qualified teacher requirements?

Any teacher who:

  1. Is the teacher of record, and
  2. Provides direct instruction to students in any of the core academic subject areas defined by NCLB must meet the requirement.

Special education teachers who deliver direct instruction to students with disabilities in core academic subject areas must meet the appropriate state special education certification requirements for the grade level that they are teaching in addition to meeting the same standards for subject matter competency to meet highly qualified.  These requirements apply whether a special education teacher provides direct core academic instruction in a regular classroom, in a resource room, or in another non-traditional setting.

Which teachers are not required to meet the NCLB highly qualified teacher requirements?

In general, when the teacher is either

  1. Not providing direct instruction and another general education teacher has responsibility for the design and delivery of instruction, as well as the evaluation of student performance, or
  2. The course is not a core academic subject area as defined by NCLB. 

Do teachers need to meet the highly qualified requirements if they are not teaching a core academic subject?

No, only teachers employed by the LEA who teach core academic courses are required to meet the definition of a highly qualified teacher.

Are early childhood or pre-kindergarten teachers subject to the highly qualified teacher requirements?

Yes, because Texas defines its public education system as EC-12 and is allowed by USDE to serve EC and PK students with Title I, Part A funds, the highly qualified teacher requirements do apply to EC and PK teachers.  EC and PK teachers follow the elementary Highly Qualifed requirements.

How do the teacher quality requirements apply to individuals working in extended learning time programs?

If services offered outside of regular school hours in a Title I extended learning time program provide instruction in core academic subjects designed to help students meet State or local academic standards, the persons providing such core academic instruction must meet the highly qualified teacher requirements.

In extended learning time programs (which can include summer school), the school’s regular teaching staff extend or continue the school’s instructional day using the same or similar curricula, and therefore they must be highly qualified.  However, if the instructor is not an employee of the LEA, the highly qualified teacher requirements do not apply.

Do teachers who primarily teach English language learners need to meet the highly qualified requirements?

Yes, if the teachers of English language learners (including Bilingual and ESL teachers) provide instruction in core academic subjects then the teacher must meet the applicable highly qualified requirements of the grade level and core academic subject area taught.

However, the Bilingual or ESL teacher is not required to have state Bilingual certification or ESL endorsement in order to meet highly qualified.  Although the teacher may meet the requirements under highly qualified, the teacher may still need a waiver under State requirements.

Secondary ESL teachers providing instruction in high school ESOL classes where students receive credit for English must meet highly qualified requirements for English.  The secondary ESL certification alone does not meet the highly qualified teacher competency requirement for English.

In addition, teachers of English language learners who teach in instructional programs funded under ESEA Title III must be fluent in English and any other language in which they provide instruction, including having written and oral communication skills.

Do short- and long-term substitute teachers need to meet the highly qualified requirements?

ubstitutes take the place of teachers and, therefore, play a critical role in the classroom and the school.  It is vital that they be able to perform their duties well.  An individual that is hired to substitute for a teacher while the teacher is out sick or on leave is not considered the teacher of records and is not required to meet the requirements of “highly qualified.”  However, if an individual is hired to substitute for a teacher who has not been hired, the substitute becomes the teacher of record and must meet the requirements of a “highly qualified” teacher.

In addition, the law requires that parents of children in Title I schools must be notified if their child has been assigned to, or has been taught for four or more consecutive weeks by, a teacher who is not highly qualified which includes a long-term substitute.

Must special education teachers who teach core academic subjects be highly qualified?

Any core academic subject area teacher who is the teacher of record and provides direct instruction to students in any of the core academic subject areas defined by NCLB must meet highly qualified.

Special education teachers who deliver direct instruction to students with disabilities in core academic subject areas must meet the appropriate state special education certification requirements for the grade level that they are teaching in addition to meeting the same standard for subject matter competency to meet highly qualified.  These requirements apply whether a special education teacher provides direct core academic instruction in a regular classroom, in a resource room, or in another non-traditional setting.

Is a teacher who is certified outside of Texas considered “highly qualified”?

eachers who are certified in another state or country meet the requirements of “highly qualified” if they have a valid out-of-state teaching certificate, a Bachelor’s degree, can demonstrate subject area competency, and hold (or qualify for) a valid Texas One-Year Certificate.  Prior to or during the validity of the one-year certificate, the teacher must complete any applicable Texas certification testing requirements.

In the event that such a teacher is employed at a charter school, the teacher would be required to have a Bachelor’s degree, demonstrate competency, and meet the charter school requirements with respect to certification.