Highly Qualified Teacher
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The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) require all teachers to be highly qualified by the end of the 2005-06 school year. Highly qualified requirements apply to elementary education teachers and to middle and high school teachers who teach one or more core academic subjects including English, reading, language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics, government, economics, arts, history, and geography. In Iowa, the NCLB and IDEA legislation requires all teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree, a teaching license, and the state required endorsement for all subject areas.
NOTE: In Iowa, all teachers meet the highly qualified teacher requirements if they carry the appropriate grade-level teaching license and academic content endorsement for the grade level and subject areas they teach.
Highly Qualified Special Education Teacher
The highly qualified teacher requirements of NCLB and IDEA 2004 call for all teachers to be "highly qualified" by June of 2006. Although the legislation applies to all general and special education teachers in grades K-12, in Iowa it primarily impacts secondary special education teachers who do not have core content endorsement for subject areas--such as math, science, and English--they have taught in the past, but are no longer allowed to teach under the legislation. Key concepts of the legislation and its impact on secondary special education teachers include:
"Highly qualified" can be considered a synonym for core content expertise and should not be confused with "highly skilled." Special education teachers are highly skilled. They can--and should--provide the following specialized instruction:
- Strategy instruction to their students
- Consultation to core content endorsed teachers on strategies or individualized needs
- Co-teaching with core content endorsed teachers
Intent of the legislation is to partner the strategy expertise of special education teachers with the subject matter expertise of core content endorsed teachers to ensure that students with special needs have access to the same education as their non-disabled peers.