No Child Left Behind Act

No Child Left Behind Act

No Child Left Behind Act


On January 8, 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act became law. This guide is meant to provide you with information about the Act. It summarizes the main provisions of the law, answers common questions, and provides information on where you can find additional resources. You are encouraged to share it with family and friends.

What No Child Left Behind Does for Parents and Children?

The Act supports learning in the early years, thereby preventing many learning difficulties that may arise later. Children who enter school with language skills and pre-reading skills (e.g., understanding that print reads from left to right and top to bottom) are more likely to learn to read well in the early grades and succeed in later years. In fact, research shows that most reading problems faced by adolescents and adults are the result of problems that could have been prevented through good instruction in their early childhood years (Snow, Burns and Griffin 1998). It is never too early to start building language skills by talking with and reading to children. No Child Left Behind targets resources for early childhood education so that all youngsters get the right start.

The Act provides more information for parents about their child's progress. Under No Child Left Behind, each state must measure every public school student's progress in reading and math in each of grades 3 through 8 and at least once during grades 10 through 12. By school year 2007-2008, assessments (or testing) in science will be underway These assessments must be aligned with state academic content and achievement standards. They will provide parents with objective data on where their child stands academically.

The Act alerts parents to important information on the performance of their child's school. No Child Left Behind requires states and school districts to give parents easy-to-read, detailed report cards on schools and districts, telling them which ones are succeeding and why Included in the report cards are student achievement data broken out by race, ethnicity, gender, English language proficiency, migrant status, disability status and low-income status; as well as important information about the professional qualifications of teachers. With these provisions, No Child Left Behind ensures that parents have important, timely information about the schools their children attend, whether they are performing well or not for all children, regardless of their background.

The Act gives children and parents a lifeline. In this new era of education, children will no longer be trapped in the dead end of low-performing schools. Under No Child Left Behind, such schools must use their federal funds to make needed improvements. In the event of a school's continued poor performance, parents have options to ensure that their children receive the high-quality education to which they are entitled. That might mean that children can transfer to higher-performing schools in the area or receive supplemental educational services in the community, such as tutoring, after-school programs or remedial classes.

The Act improves teaching and learning by providing better information to teachers and principals. Annual tests to measure children's progress provide teachers with independent information about each child's strengths and weaknesses. With this knowledge, teachers can craft lessons to make sure each student meets or exceeds the standards. In addition, principals can use the data to assess exactly how much progress each teacher's students have made and to better inform decisions about how to run their schools.

The Act ensures that teacher quality is a high priority.
No Child Left Behind defines the qualifications needed by teachers and paraprofessionals who work on any facet of classroom instruction. It requires that states develop plans to achieve the goal that all teachers of core academic subjects be highly qualified by the end of the 2005-2006 school year. States must include in their plans annual, measurable objectives that each local school district and school must meet in moving toward the goal; they must report on their progress in the annual report cards.

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Because of No Child Left Behind:

Parents will know their children's strengths and weaknesses and how well schools are performing; they will have other options and resources for helping their children if their schools are chronically in need of improvement.

Teachers will have the training and resources they need for teaching effectively, using curricula that are grounded in scientifically based research; annual testing lets them know areas in which students need extra attention.

Principals will have information they need to strengthen their schools' weaknesses and to put into practice methods and strategies backed by sound, scientific research.
Superintendents will be able to see which of their schools and principals are doing the best job and which need help to improve.

School boards will be able to measure how their districts are doing and to measure their districts in relation to others across the state; they will have more and better information on which to base decisions about priorities in their districts.

Community leaders and volunteer groups will have information they can use to rally their members in efforts to help children and schools that need the most help.

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How are school report cards put together and what kind of information do they provide?

Reports on individual schools are part of the annual district report cards, also known as local report cards. Each school district must prepare and disseminate annual local report cards that include information on how students in the district and in each school performed on state assessments. The report cards must state student performance in terms of three levels: basic, proficient and advanced. Achievement data must be disaggregated, or broken out, by student subgroups according to: race, ethnicity, gender, English language proficiency, migrant status, disability status and low-income status. The report cards must also tell which schools have been identified as needing improvement, corrective action or restructuring.

How can parents see these local report cards, which include school-by-school data?

States must ensure that the local districts make these local report cards available to the parents of students promptly and by no later than the beginning of the school year. The law requires that the information be presented in an "understandable and uniform format, and to the extend practicable, in a language that the parents can understand." States and districts may also distribute this information to the media for publicizing; post it on the Internet; or provide it to other public agencies for dissemination.
Further, local school districts must notify parents if their child's school has been identified as needing improvement, corrective action or restructuring. In this event, districts must let parents know the options available to them. Also, districts must annually notify parents of students in Title I schools of their "right to know" about teacher qualifications and how to exercise it.

What information is provided on state report cards?

Each state must produce and disseminate annual report cards that provide information on student achievement in the state-both overall and broken out according to the same subgroups as those appearing on the district report cards listed above. State report cards include:

*State assessment results by performance level (basic, proficient and
advanced), including (I) two-year trend data for each subject and grade tested;
and (2) a comparison between annual objectives and actual performance for
each student group.

*Percentage of each group of students not tested.

*Graduation rates for secondary school students and any other student
achievement indicators that the state chooses.

*Performance of school districts on adequate yearly progress measures,
including the number and names of schools identified as needing

*Professional qualifications of teachers in the state, including the percentage of
teachers in the classroom with only emergency or provisional credentials and
the percentage of classes in the state that are not taught by highly-qualified
teachers, including a comparison between high- and low-income schools.

What is "adequate yearly progress"? How does measuring it help to improve schools?

No Child Left Behind requires each state to define "adequate yearly progress" for school districts and schools, within the parameters set by Title I. In defining adequate yearly progress, each state sets the minimum levels of improvement-measurable in terms of student performance-that school districts and schools must achieve within time frames specified in the law. In general, each state begins by setting a "starting point" that is based on the performance of its lowest-achieving demographic group or of the lowest-achieving schools in the state, whichever is higher. The state then sets the level of student achievement that a school must attain after two years in order to continue to show adequate yearly progress. Subsequent thresholds must be raised at least once every three years, until, at the end of 12 years, all students in the state are achieving at the proficient level on state assessments in reading/language arts and math.

What if a school does not improve?

States and local school districts will aid schools that receive Title I funds in making meaningful changes that will improve their performance. In the meantime, districts will offer parents options for children in low-performing schools, including extra help to children from low-income families

The No Child Left Behind Act lays out an action plan and timetable for steps to be taken when a Title I school fails to improve, as follows:

* A Title I school that has not made adequate yearly progress, as defined by the
state, for two consecutive school years will be identified by the district before
the beginning of the next school year as needing improvement. School
officials will develop a three-year plan to turn around the school. The District
will ensure that the school receives needed technical assistance as it develops
and implements its improvement plan. Students must be offered the option of
transferring to another public school in the district that has not been identified
as needing school improvement.

* If the school does not make adequate yearly progress for three years, the
school remains in school-improvement status, and the district must continue
to offer public school choice to all students. In addition, students from low-
income families are eligible to receive supplemental educational services,
such as tutoring or remedial classes, from a state-approved provider.

* If the school fails to make adequate progress for four years, the district must
implement certain corrective action to improve the school, such as replacing
certain staff or fully implementing a new curriculum, while continuing to
offer public school choice and supplemental educational services for low-
income students.
*If a school fails to make adequate yearly progress for a fifth year, the school
district must initiate plans for restructuring the school. This may include
reopening the school as a charter school, replacing all or most of the school
staff or turning over school operations either to the state or to a private
company with a demonstrated record of effectiveness.

In addition, the law requires states to identify for improvement those Districts that fail to make adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years or longer and to institute corrective actions.

How are teachers or schools that do well rewarded?

No Child Left Behind requires states to provide state academic achievement awards to schools that close achievement gaps between groups of students or that exceed academic achievement goals. States may also use Title I funds to financially reward teachers in schools that receive academic achievement awards. In addition, states must designate as distinguished schools those that have made the greatest gains in closing the achievement gap or in exceeding achievement goals.

What can parents do to help their child's school succeed and meet the accountability requirements? How does the law help parents become involved?

No Child Left Behind supports parent involvement because research overwhelmingly demonstrates the positive effect that parent involvement has on their children's academic achievement (Clark 1983; Comer 1980, 1988; Eccles, Arbreton, et al., 1993; Eccles-Parsons, Adler and Kaczala 1982; Epstein 1983, 1984; Marjoribanks 1979 as cited in Eccles and Harold 1996). In the event a school is identified as needing improvement, corrective action or restructuring, the law requires the District to notify parents accordingly and to explain to them how they can become involved in school improvement efforts. In any event, the law requires the same agency to provide parents with local report cards, which include data on each individual school in the district, as described earlier. Thus, parents have up-to-date information about their child's school, which they can use in whatever manner they choose to be involved. Parents may help their child's school in a number of ways, including: Attending parent-teacher meetings or special meetings to address academic problems at the school; volunteering to serve as needed; encouraging other parents to become involved; and learning about the school's special challenges, community resources and the No Child Left Behind Act. In addition, parents should take advantage of the increased flexibility given local decision-makers by No Child Left Behind and talk with their school board members, principals and other state and local education leaders about which programs they think will help their students the most.

In addition, the law has other specific requirements on parent involvement that include the following:

*Each state education agency must support the collection and dissemination of
information on effective parent involvement practices to local education
agencies and schools.

* The law in Title I spells out specific measures that Districts and schools
receiving Title I funds must take to ensure parent involvement in significant
areas, including: overall planning at the district and school levels; written
policies on parent involvement at both levels; annual meetings; training;
coordinating parent involvement strategies among federal education programs
(i.e., Title I, Head Start and Reading First); and evaluating those strategies
and revising them if needed.

* Schools that have school-wide programs must involve parents in developing
plans for such programs-that is, programs designed to raise the achievement
of low-achieving students in high-poverty Title I schools by improving
instruction throughout the entire school (thus using Title I funds to serve all

* The law provides for involvement of parents of private schools students
served by various federal education programs such as Title I.

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What impact does testing have on children?

Although testing may be stressful for some students, testing is a normal and expected way of assessing what students have learned. The purpose of state assessments required under No Child Left Behind is to provide an independent insight into each child's progress, as well as each school's. This information is essential for parents, schools, districts and states in their efforts to ensure that no child-regardless of race, ethnic group, gender or family income-is trapped in a consistently low-performing school.

Will student results be made available to parents?

Yes. State assessments will produce reports on each student that will be given to parents.

Will the results of a child's tests be private?

Absolutely. Only the parents and school receive the results of an individual child's tests. Individual student scores will not be made public. They are not a part of student achievement data on report cards issued by districts and states.

On what subjects are students tested and when?

No Child Left Behind requires that, by the 2005-06 school year, each state must measure every child's progress in reading and math in each of grades 3 through 8 and at least once during grades 10 through 12. In the meantime, each state must meet the requirements of the previous law reauthorizing ESEA (the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994) for assessments in reading and math at three grade spans (3-5; 6-9; and 10-12). By school year 2007-2008, states must also have in place science assessments to be administered at least once during grades 3-5; grades 6-9; and grades 10-12. Further, states must ensure that districts administer tests of English proficiency to measure oral language, and reading and writing skills in English, to all limited English proficient students, as of the 2002-03 school year.

Students may still undergo state assessments in other subject areas (i.e., history, geography and writing skills), if and when the state requires it. No Child Left Behind, however, requires assessments only in the areas of reading/ language arts, math and science.

How is testing handled for children with disabilities? How is it handled for those with limited English proficiency?

No Child Left Behind requires that all children be assessed. In order to show adequate yearly progress, schools must test at least 95 percent of the various subgroups of children, including their students with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency. States must provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities or limited English proficiency. For the latter, accommodations may include native-language versions of the assessment; however, in the area of reading and language arts, students who have been in U.S. schools for three consecutive years will be assessed in English.

Some say that testing causes teachers to teach to the test. Is that true?

State assessments are expected to measure how well students meet the state's academic standards, which define what students should know and be able to do in different subject areas at different grade levels. Under the previous reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1994, states were required to develop or adopt standards in mathematics and in reading or language arts; No Child Left Behind requires states to do the same with science standards by 2006. Curriculum based on state standards should be taught in the classroom. If teachers cover subject matter required by the standards and teach it well, then students will master the material on which they will be tested and probably much more. In that case, students will need no special test preparation in order to do well.

Nevertheless, state assessments sound like they could take a lot of time and effort. What will be gained?

The point of state assessments is to measure student learning. A key principle of quality management is the importance of measuring what is valued (e.g., production rates; costs of materials, etc.). Such measures enable an organization to identify where and how to improve operations. In the same manner, if schools and school systems are to continuously improve, they must measure growth in student achievement. After all, the core of all activity in schools and school systems is teaching and learning, and the key question is: Are the students learning?

Do tests measure the progress of schools?

Annual state assessments required under No Child Left Behind produce data on student performance at individual schools; and this information is used to gauge whether each and every school is meeting the state's standard of "adequate yearly progress." Parents can check progress made in improving student performance at their child's school by checking the annual district report card. If their school is not making adequate yearly progress and has been identified as needing improvement, corrective action or restructuring, No Child Left Behind requires that districts notify parents and offer options.

How does testing help teachers?

Annual testing provides teachers with a great deal of information. For example, overall poor results could indicate that the curriculum needs to be reviewed and aligned with the content upon which state standards are based; poor results could also mean that teachers need to modify their instructional methods. Another likely indicator of the same problems would be if teachers saw poor performance by their students in certain areas. Test results could also help teachers to clarify those areas in which they may need professional development. Finally, teachers gain a great deal of information about the performance of individual students that enables them to meet the particular needs of every child.

How does testing help principals?

Annual tests show principals exactly how much progress each teacher's students have made. They can use this information to guide decisions about program selection, curriculum arrangement, professional development for teachers and school resources they might need. Tests also show principals the strengths and weaknesses of students in terms of the whole school, various subgroups and as individuals and enable them to make plans that bolster strengths and address weaknesses.

How can parents find out if their child's school uses information gathered from testing to improve teaching and learning?

Parents can ask the principal how their school makes decisions about teaching and learning. They can ask such questions as: Does the faculty meet regularly; review performance data; and identify weaknesses to be targeted? Do programs and curricula follow state content standards defining what students should know and be able to do in a given subject, at a given grade level? How is the school using test data to guide decisions about teaching and learning (e.g., how do those data influence professional development, tutoring, and selection of materials)? Is there a school-wide plan that uses testing to evaluate performance, determine areas of strengths and weaknesses in instruction and respond to targeted needs of students? Have test data revealed weaknesses at the school (e.g., low math scores in the fifth and sixth grades)? What are the teachers and principal doing to assess such problems and address them? These are important questions for parents to ask about how their child's school is using testing and the data obtained from it.

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Teacher Quality

How does this law improve teacher quality?

No Child Left Behind requires local school districts to ensure that all teachers hired to teach core academic subjects in Title I programs after the first day of the 2002-03 school year are highly qualified. In general a "highly qualified teacher" is one with full certification, a bachelor's degree and demonstrated competence in subject knowledge and teaching. (Core subjects include English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history and geography.) The act also calls for all teachers of the core academic subjects (teaching in Title II programs or elsewhere) to be highly qualified by the end of school year 2005-06.

No Child Left Behind (ESEA, Title II) provides federal funding to states and districts for activities that will strengthen teacher quality in all schools, especially those with a high proportion of children in poverty. Funding can be used to support a wide array of activities, including interventions for teacher professional development, so long as the activities are grounded in scientifically based research. Because communities nationwide face such a variety of needs when it comes to teacher quality, the law gives schools and districts a great deal of flexibility in how the money is spent. It also holds them accountable for the proper and effective use of the funds.

How are states and districts held accountable for improving teacher quality?

Each state that receives Title II funds must develop a plan to ensure that all teachers of core academic subjects are highly qualified by the end of the 2005-06 school year. The plan must establish annual, measurable objectives for each local school district and school to ensure that they meet the "highly qualified" requirement.

In schools that receive funds under Title II, principals must make a statement each year as to whether the school is in compliance with the "highly qualified" teacher requirement. This information will be maintained at the school and district offices where members of the public can see it upon request. In addition, each school district must report to the state annually on its progress in meeting the requirement that all teachers be "highly qualified" by the end of the 2005-06 school year. This information is part of the state report cards described earlier.

How can parents find out about the quality of their child's teachers?

Parents of students in Title I schools are guaranteed annual notification of their "right to know" about teacher qualifications by their school district. That means parents may request and receive from that office information regarding the professional qualifications of the student's classroom teachers, including: (a) whether the teacher is state-certified; (b) whether a teacher is teaching under emergency or other provisional status; and (c) the baccalaureate degree major of the teacher and any other graduate degree major or certification.

What about paraprofessionals or teachers' aides? Does No Child Left Behind call for increased academic requirements for them?

While paraprofessionals or teachers' aides are valuable assets to many learning communities, they are not qualified to fill the role of teachers, a role which, unfortunately, many have been called upon to fill, especially in schools that are under-staffed. No Child Left Behind is clear that teachers' aides may provide instructional services only under the direct supervision of a teacher. In addition, the law allows teachers' aides to facilitate instruction only if they have met certain academic requirements:

* they must have at least an associate's degree;

*or two years of college,

*or they must meet a rigorous standard of quality through a formal state or
local assessment.

If a paraprofessional's role does not involve facilitating instruction, such as serving as a hall monitor, that person does not have to meet the same academic requirements. But, in order to provide instructional services, an aide or paraprofessional must have the academic background required by No Child Left Behind.

Why is teacher quality such an important issue?

A major objective of No Child Left Behind is to ensure high-quality teachers for all students, regardless of race, ethnicity or income, because a well-prepared teacher is vitally important to a child's education. In fact, research demonstrates the clear correlation between student academic achievement and teacher quality (Sanders and Rivers 1996). Parents should never hesitate to inquire within their school and district about the qualifications of teachers instructing their children.

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No Child Left Behind "Highly Qualified" Frequently Asked Questions For Teachers

Q1.   Who must be reported as highly qualified teachers under the NCLB definition?

         A: Teachers who teach in a core academic subject must be reported.

Q2.   What are the core academic subjects?

         A: Core academic subjects, as defined in Section 9101, include English, language arts, reading, science, mathematics, arts (includes music, visual arts, dance, and drama), foreign languages, government and civics, history, economics, and geography,

Q3.   What is meant by "full state certification" in Ohio?

         A: Full state certification is a valid Ohio certification or license. Full state certification or licensure in Ohio requires the completion of an approved teacher preparation program within an accredited college or university, and a passing score on the state licensing examination (Praxis II) upon completion of all coursework.

Q4.   Does a teacher with a temporary, conditional, or long term substitute certificate or license meets the NCLB highly qualified requirement?

         A: No, teachers with temporary or conditional licenses do not meet the NCLB highly qualified requirement. Long-term substitutes who are teaching out of field do not meet the NCLB requirements.

Q5.   Does a minor in a subject meet the NCLB highly qualified requirement?

         A: No, a minor in a subject does not satisfy the highly qualified requirement. A major or the equivalent is required and is defined as 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours.

Q6.  When must teachers of core academic subjects meet the NCLB federal definition of being designated as highly qualified?

          A: By the 2005-2006 school year, all public school (not just Title I) elementary, middle, and secondary teachers of core academic subjects in the state are to be highly qualified.

Q7.   When must teachers of core academic subjects in programs supported by Title 1 Part A funds need to meet the highly qualified definition?

         A: All teachers in Title I school-wide programs or teachers paid with Title I funds in targeted assistance programs and hired after January 8, 2002 must be "highly qualified" on the date on which they are hired. All teachers (including teachers in Title I school-wide programs or teachers paid with Title I funds in targeted assistance programs) must be highly qualified by the end of the 2005-2006 school year.

Q8.   Do the NCLB highly qualified requirements apply to career-technical teachers?

         A: The NCLB highly qualified requirements do not apply to teachers of career-tech non-degree, non-academic subjects. The NCLB highly qualified requirements apply to career-tech teachers if a career tech subject, counts as a core academic subject (example: applied mechanics may count as the mathematics requirement).

Q9.   What are the NCLB parent notification requirements regarding teacher qualifications in title I schools?

         A:  At the beginning of each school year, a school district that receives Title I, Part A funds must notify the parents of each student attending any Title I school (School-wide or Targeted Assistance) that the parents may request information regarding the professional qualifications of the student's classroom teachers, including, at a minimum the following:

* Whether the teacher has met State qualification and licensing criteria for the grade levels and subject areas in which the teacher provides instruction.

* Whether the teacher is teaching under emergency or other provisional status through which State qualification or licensing criteria have been waived.

*The baccalaureate degree major of the teacher and any other graduate certification or degree held by the teacher, and the field of discipline of the certification or degree.

*Whether the child is provided services by paraprofessionals and, if so, their qualifications.

Q10.   What are the NCLB reporting requirements to parents of teachers who are not designated as highly qualified?

         A: Beginning the 2002-2003 school year, parent(s) of any child in a school receiving Title I funds, must be provided timely notice if their child has been assigned or has been taught for four or more consecutive weeks by a teacher who is not highly qualified. The timely notice must be documented-preferably in writing.

Q11.   Are teachers who are participating in an approved alternative certification program to be reported as highly qualified?

         A: Yes, all teachers who are participating in the approved Ohio alternative certification program are reported as highly qualified.

Q12.  Are pre-kindergarten teachers subject to the highly qualified teacher elementary level requirement of NCLB?

         A: Teacher qualification requirements do not apply to early childhood or pre-kindergarten teachers unless a State includes early childhood or pre-kindergarten as part of its elementary and secondary school system, Ohio does not presently include early childhood or pre-kindergarten. However, even if the ESEA's highly qualified teacher requirements do not apply to them in this case, State and
districts should ensure that pre-kindergarten teachers have the necessary skills and knowledge to provide their students with successful school readiness skills.

Q13.  Who will make the determination if there is a question as to whether a specific item will meet the 100 points on the Ohio Highly Qualified Teacher Rubric?

         A: The rubric (system) is designed for the teacher to self report, but if there is a question regarding whether a certain professional development activity would meet the requirement or not, it should be determined by the teacher's Local Professional Development Committee (LPDC).

Q14.  On the highly qualified worksheet, in section 4 and 6, what does clock hours mean?

         A: Clock hours are 60 minutes of participation.

Q15.  I hold a 7-12 English certificate and it appears that I meet the HQT definition for teaching English 7-12, but my assignment is 7-8th grade language arts. Is it possible for me to meet the requirements of the definition for the language arts assignment?

         A: Yes, if you meet the criteria from the worksheet. If not, there is also the opportunity to meet the federal definition by earning the 100 point rubric or the 90 clock hours of personal development activities approved by your LDPC, before the end of the 2005-2006 school year.

Q16.   My school has created "reading in the content area mini-courses" e.g., reading in mathematics, that are taught by content-area teachers who most likely meet the HQT criteria for their content areas; however, they do not hold reading certification. Is it possible that they will be considered HQT for their content assignments, but not HQT for the reading in the content area course?

         A: Yes, one might meet the criteria for some of their teaching assignment classes but not all, therefore would be counted at the percent rate in which they do. For example, if they teach 6 periods a day and meet it in four of the six periods, they would be counted as 4/6 or 66% HQT.

Q17.   At what grade level does the content requirement become specific for a person holding a 1-8 certificate? In other words, if I hold the 1-8 certificate and am teaching science in my middle school to 7 -8th graders and have one 6th grade class, will I be considered HQT for the 6th grade but not 7th and 8th?

         A: Yes, this could in fact occur. The worksheet has some common questions that all teachers answer and some specific ones for one's teaching assignment designated as two categories: PreK-6 or 7-12th. Questions on the teacher worksheet are categorized by such things as degree, certification/licensure type, academic major, and National Board status, to name a few. In addition, one can meet the federal definition by completing the rubric or accumulating 90 clock hours.

Q18.   Regarding the rubric, has a protocol been established regarding what courses will be accepted within the "college course work related to content area" and the "professional development in content area" categories?

         A: A teacher's LPDC can assist to determine this, along with guidance from the Higher Ed institution's course description for determining the classification for each course in question.

Q19.   What Master's degrees are okay for teachers who teach PreK-6th grade?

         A: Teacher who teach PreK-6 can hold a master's degree in any area of education, which includes Curriculum and Supervision as well as in Reading. The only exception to this is a master's in Educational Administration.

Q20.  What Master's degrees will meet the federal definition for Highly Qualified if the teacher teaches grades 7 -12?

         A: The master's degree must be in a content area(s) related to one's teaching assignment for teachers teaching in grades 7-12.

Q21.  Why doesn't a Master's degree in Educational Administration meet the Highly Qualified teacher definition?

         A: Course work for Educational Administration does not focus on instructional improvement but rather, focuses on a larger study of school operations such as school law and school finance.

Q22.   Would a person who holds a history certificate but not a comprehensive social studies certificate, and is presently teaching economics (or geography, government etc.) be considered Highly Qualified?

         A: No. A teacher with a history certificate would be teaching out of their subject area (history) and would not be able to answer yes to the second question under section 1 of the worksheet "Do I have full state certification/licensure in my teaching area."

Q23.   What is the time line for the 90 clock hours of high quality professional development? From what point can one begin counting the 90 clock hours?

         A: Clock hours can be counted since the time your Local Professional Development Committee (LPDC) began keeping records.

Q24.   How does the Highly Qualified teacher definition pertain to special educators/intervention special lists?

         A: Special education teachers who provide instruction in core academic subjects must meet the highly qualified teacher requirements for those core academic subjects that they teach. These requirements apply whether a special education teacher provides core academic instruction in a regular classroom, a resource room, or other setting. Special educators who do not directly instruct students in any core academic subjects or who provide only consultation to highly qualified teachers of core academic subjects in adapting curricula, using behavioral supports and interventions, or selecting appropriate accommodations do not need to demonstrate subject-matter competency in those subjects. These special educators could also assist students with study skills or organizational skills and reinforce instruction that the child has already received from a highly qualified teacher.

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No Child Left Behind "Highly Qualified" Frequently Asked Questions For Paraprofessionals

Q1.   Who is considered as a paraprofessional?

         A: According to ESEA guidelines, a paraprofessional provides one-on-one tutoring; assists with classroom management (organizing instructional and other materials); provides instructional computer assistance; provides support in a library or media center; or provides instructional services under the direct supervision of a teacher.
Requirements do not apply to paraprofessionals working primarily as translators or solely on parental involvement activities, or to individuals working in non-instructional roles (food service, cafeteria or playground supervision, personal care service, and non-instructional computer assistance).

Q2.   What qualifications are required for paraprofessionals?

          A: According to the regulations, paraprofessionals who have instructional duties in Title I school wide buildings or are paid with Title I funds in Title I targeted assistance buildings are required to meet one of the following three criteria to meet the qualified definition:

*Complete at least two years of study at an institution of higher education (defined as 48
semester or 72 quarter hours as verified by a college transcript from an accredited institution of higher education; or

*Obtain an associate (or higher) degree from an accredited institution of higher Education
(defined as an associate degree program from an accredited institution of higher education; or

*Meet a rigorous standard of quality and demonstrate, through a formal State or local
academic assessment as follows:
          *knowledge of, and the ability to assist in instructing reading, writing and mathematics;
          *knowledge of, and the ability to assist in readiness for reading, writing, and mathematics.

Q3.  Will all paraprofessionals hired after 1/8/02 have to meet the educational requirements or just Title I-hired paraprofessionals?

         A: ESEA requirements for paraprofessionals impact only those individuals with instructional duties in any program supported by Title I funds. For a school wide school, this means all paraprofessionals with instructional duties, regardless of the source of funding for their positions. In targeted assistance buildings, only those paraprofessionals paid by Title I funds must meet one of the three qualifying requirements. In addition, all paraprofessionals falling under these requirements must have a secondary school diploma or its equivalent. Only one of the three requirements is needed for those employed before or after January 8. 2002. Those employed after January 8, 2002, must meet one of the expectations upon employment. Those hired before this date must meet one of the requirements by January 8, 2006.

Q4.  Do the paraprofessional requirements apply to those paraprofessionals working in MR/DDs and ESCs within a local district?

          A: Yes, the requirements do apply to paraprofessionals working in MR/DDs and ESCs within a district if those positions are funded with Title I dollars.

Q5.   Can paraprofessionals be "grandfathered in" based on years of experience, or are they required to obtain a two-year degree?

         A: No grandfather provisions exist under the ESEA. However, Title I teacher aides hired prior to January 8, 2002 have four years after that date to meet the qualifications prescribed in Section 1119 (c through h) of ESEA.

Q6.  What form of assessment will paraprofessionals be required to take?

         A: The ParaPro Assessment focuses on one's knowledge of, and ability to assist in instructing, reading/reading readiness, writing/writing readiness, and mathematics readiness. A passing score of 456 (out of a total of 480 possible points) must be obtained in order to meet the requirements.

Q7.   Where can I take the ParaPro Assessment?

         A: The ParaPro Assessment is offered six times a year at Praxis testing centers for $40.00 per participant with no registration fee. Online testing is available to districts as well. As the demand grows, additional sites may be added.

Q8.  If a Parapro does not pass the test, can it be taken again?

         A: Candidates may take the test as many times as necessary to achieve a passing score of 456 (out of a total of 480 possible points).

Q9.  If a Parapro does not pass one section of the test, can that one section be taken again or must the entire test be completed?

         A: Because the ParaPro is a single test, there is no way to "bank" scores on any single part of it, therefore the entire test must be retaken.

Q10.   Will districts be able to provide funding for paraprofessionals to meet the new requirements?

A: Title I and Title II funds may be provided for ongoing training and professional development for paraprofessionals.

Q12.   Does a paraprofessional in a computer lab have to meet the paraprofessional definition?

         A: The answer to this depends upon the responsibilities assigned to the paraprofessional. If the paraprofessional is an instructional aide, assisting students with curricular issues the answer is yes. Whereas, if the paraprofessional is employed in a computer lab for maintenance, mechanical assistance, or security responsibilities, the paraprofessional would not be considered to be serving in an instructional role and thus would not need to meet the definition.

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Creating Safer Schools

How big a problem is crime in schools?

In 2000, students ages 12 through 18 were victims of about 2 million crimes at school, including about 128,000 serious violent crimes (including rape, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault). That same year, about 29 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 reported that someone had offered, sold or given them an illegal drug on school property. While overall school crime rates have declined over the last few years, violence, gangs and drugs are still present, indicating that more work needs to be done.

How can parents find out about safety at their child's school?

Under Title IV of ESEA as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act, states are required to establish a uniform management and reporting system to collect information on school safety and drug use among young people. The states must include incident reports by school officials and anonymous student and teacher surveys in the data they collect. This information is to be publicly reported so that parents, school officials and others who are interested have information about any violence and drug use at their schools. They can then assess the problems at their schools and work toward finding solutions. Continual monitoring and reports will track progress over time.

How can schools be made safer?

Title IV provides support for programs to prevent violence in and around schools; prevent the illegal use of alcohol, drug and tobacco by young people; and foster a safe and drug-free learning environment that supports academic achievement. Most of the funds are awarded to states, which, in turn, award money to the districts for a wide range of drug- and violence-prevention programs. These programs must address local needs as determined by objective data and be grounded in scientifically based prevention activities. They must also involve parents. The effectiveness of these programs must be continuously measured and evaluated.

What can be done immediately for students who are in unsafe schools?

Parents of children who have been the victims of a violent crime at school or who attend "persistently dangerous schools"-as determined by the state will be offered school choice, as described in the next section.

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Choice and Supplemental Educational Services

When are children eligible for school choice?

Children are eligible for school choice when the Title I school they attend has not made adequate yearly progress in improving student achievement as defined by the state-for two consecutive years or longer and is therefore identified as needing improvement, corrective action or restructuring. Any child attending such a school must be offered the option of transferring to a public school in the district, not identified for school improvement, unless such an option is prohibited by state law. No Child Left Behind requires that priority in providing school choice be given to the lowest achieving children from low-income families. As of the 2002-2003 school year, school choice is available to students enrolled in schools that have been identified as needing improvement under the ESEA as the statute existed prior to the enactment of No Child Left Behind.

In addition, children are eligible for school choice when they attend any "persistently dangerous school," as defined by the individual state. Any child who has been the victim of a violent crime on the grounds of his or her school is also eligible for school choice.

How do parents know if their child is eligible for school choice?

Under No Child Left Behind, school districts are required to notify parents if their child is eligible for school choice because his or her school has been identified as needing improvement, corrective action or restructuring. They must notify parents no later than the first day of the school year following the year for which their school has been identified for improvement.

States are required to ensure that school choice is offered as an option to parents in the event their child is attending a school that is "persistently dangerous" or has been the victim of a violent crime while on school grounds.

What action can parents take if their school or district does not offer school choice to their child who is eligible?

Schools and districts receiving Title I funds must provide choice for eligible students as described above. If they do not, parents are encouraged to contact their state department of education.

Do public school options include only schools in the same district?

There may be situations where children in Title I schools have school options outside their own district. For instance, a school district may choose to enter into a cooperative agreement with another district that would allow their students to transfer into the other district's schools. In fact, the law requires that a district try "to the extent practicable" to establish such an agreement in the event that all of its schools have been identified as needing improvement, corrective action or restructuring.

Is transportation available for children who exercise their right to attend another school?

Subject to a funding cap established in the statute, districts must provide transportation for all students who exercise their school choice option under Title 1. They must give priority to the lowest-achieving children from low-income families.

What are supplemental educational services?

Supplemental educational services include tutoring and after-school services. They may be offered through public- or private-sector providers that are approved by the state, such as public schools, public charter schools, local education agencies, educational service agencies and faith-based organizations. Private-sector providers may be either nonprofit or for-profit entities. States must maintain a list of approved providers across the state organized by the school district or districts they serve, from which parents may select. States must also promote maximum participation by supplemental educational services providers to ensure that parents have as many choices as possible.

When are children eligible to receive supplemental educational services?

Students from low-income families who remain in Title I schools that fail to meet state standards for at least three years are eligible to receive supplemental educational services.

Are parents notified about supplemental educational services?

Yes. Local education agencies are required to provide annual notice to parents of eligible children about the availability of services and information on the approved providers.
Can parents choose providers for tutoring and other supplemental educational services?
Yes, parents of eligible children can choose from the list of state-approved providers. Most states have approved a diverse list of providers, as mentioned above. Upon request, the local education agency will help parents determine which provider would best fit their child's needs. When parents have made their selection, the local education agency must then contract with that provider to deliver the services.

What action can parents take if their child is eligible for tutoring or other supplemental educational services, but their school or district does not offer them?

Districts receiving Title I funds must offer free tutoring and other extra help to eligible students, as described above. If eligible students are not being offered these services, parents are encouraged to contact their state department of education.

How are providers of supplemental educational services held accountable?

States must develop and apply objective criteria for evaluating providers and monitor the quality of services that they offer. In addition, supplemental services providers must give to parents, as well as to the school, information on their children's progress.

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Where can I find more information on ESEA, No Child Left Behind or local information?

Titles of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001


Title I           Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged - Sandy Pappas

Title II           Preparing, Training, and Recruiting High Quality Teachers,Principals, and Paraprofessionals - Mary Ann Hale

Title II-D            Technology - Mary Ann Hale

Title IV              Safe and Drug Free Schools - Mary Ann Hale
                          21st Century Schools - Andrea Caudill

Title V               Promoting Informed Parental Choice and Innovative Programs - Sandy Pappas

Title VI-B          Flexibility and Accountability - Rural and Low-Income - Mary Ann Hale                                                       

IDEA                Special Education - Debra Andrews    

ECSE              Early Childhood Special Education - Debra Andrews

Superintendent - John D. Simmons

The direct link to this legislation online is

To access a title-by-title summary of the law, check

Call toll-free at 1-800-USA-LEARN

No Child Left Behind          

U.S. Department of Education

The White House                

Ohio Department of Education Quick Links NCLB (ESEA)
      Center for Students, Families, and Communities
      Center for School Reform and Options
      Center for Teaching Profession
      Center for School Finance and Accountability
      Report Card Data

Adequate Yearly Progress


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