ERIC Identifier: ED477723
Publication Date: 2002-12-00
Author: Trahan, Christopher
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Teaching and Teacher Education
Implications of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 for Teacher Education.
First enacted in 1965, and last reauthorized in 1994, the most recent reauthorization
of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was signed into law
by President George W. Bush on January 8, 2002 (P.L. 107-110). Since its
inception, as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's "Great Society" programs,
it has been reauthorized (or amended) approximately every five years. Each
of these reauthorizations have given the Administration and Congress the
opportunity to add, delete, or modify provisions in the law in response
to current demands and expectations.
As the latest incarnation of ESEA, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)
amends and changes in many ways programs in the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act. Although the main component of this bill is Title I, the
government's flagship aid program for disadvantaged students, section II
of NCLB focuses on teacher education quality.
NCLB was also accompanied, for fiscal year 2002, by the largest increase
ever in federal education aid. The 18 percent increase means that for the
2002-2003 school year, money the federal government is investing in educating
America's youth increased from $18.6 billion to $22.1 billion. The bulk
of the appropriated $22.1 billion, roughly 40 percent of the entire U.S.
Department of Education's budget, was sent to states and school districts
according to a detailed formula that reflects the number of school age
children and families living in poverty. NCLB targets federal resources
to support state and local school improvement efforts for children most
at risk, with an emphasis on reading instruction.
Although most federal dollars in NCLB are directed to high-poverty local
schools through Title I, part of the school improvement plan will focus
on enhancing the quality of teachers and administrators. Language in the
bill states that all Title I schools are expected to hire only "highly
qualified" teachers, and within four years, ensure that all teachers are
assigned to teach in their field, are fully licensed, and meet other criteria
outlined in the law.
Definitions used throughout the law are found in Title IX. Some of the
most important of these for the teacher education community are: highly
qualified teachers, beginning teacher, professional development, core academic
subjects, and scientifically based research. (Title IX)
Highly Qualified Teacher--NCLB, for the first time since the
original enactment of the ESEA, defines a highly qualified teacher. In
order to be identified as a highly qualified teacher, new elementary or
secondary teachers must have full state certification and/or pass the state's
licensing examination. Those at the public elementary level must demonstrate,
by passing rigorous state tests, subject knowledge in reading/language
arts, writing, mathematics, and other areas of the basic elementary school
curriculum. Elementary level teachers must have at least a bachelor's degree.
Those beginning teachers at public middle and high school levels must pass
a rigorous state test in each academic subject in which they teach or hold
a bachelor's degree in the particular subject
Beginning Teacher--NCLB defines a beginning teacher as an educator who
has been teaching no more than a total of three complete school years.
Practicing teachers must also meet the states "highly qualified" standard
with emphasis on holding full certification and demonstrating subject-matter
competency. States are to develop systems to assess the qualifications
of practicing teachers, but these criteria remain undefined.
Congress expected that in 2002, beginning teachers in schools receiving
funds under this law would meet certain standards and that by 2006, all
teachers, including existing teachers, will meet these standards.
Professional Development--Under this expansive definition, professional
development includes activities that:
* improve teachers' knowledge of academic subjects they teach;
* are part of school wide educational improvement plans;
* will help them teach students to meet challenging standards;
* improve classroom management skills;
* are high quality, sustained, intensive and classroom focused;
* support teacher recruitment, hiring, and training;
* are connected to effective instructional practices based on scientifically
* substantially increase the knowledge and teaching skills of teachers;
* are aligned with state standards;
* are developed with participation of K-12 educators and parents;
* assist teachers of limited English proficient (LEP) children;
* provide training in the use of technology as it relates to improving
performance in core academic subjects;
* are regularly evaluated for impact;
* provide instruction in methods of teaching children with special needs;
* include instruction in the use of data and assessments;
* may include instruction in working with parents,
* may involve partnerships between K-12 schools and institutions of
higher education to provide prospective and beginning teachers with an
opportunity to work under the guidance of experienced teachers and college
* and may help paraprofessionals--teaching or classroom aides who assist
teachers with routine activities--meet state standards.
Unless otherwise stated in the law, this definition applies to any professional
development reference in NCLB.
Core Academic Subjects--As defined in Title IX of NCLB, the term core
academic subjects include English, reading or language arts, mathematics,
science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history,
and geography. (NCLB Final Regulations, 2002)
Scientifically Based Research--Virtually all school improvement activities
in NCLB are to be founded on "scientifically based research", which is
defined as research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic,
and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant
to education activities and programs. (NCLB, 2001) The research may use
measurement or observational methods, but must employ rigorous data to
analyze and test the stated hypothesis. Unless otherwise noted in the law,
this definition applies to all references to scientifically based research.
Definitions of highly qualified teachers, professional development and
scientifically based research all hold implications for the preparation
of teachers for Title I schools. It remains to be seen if the funds available
will be sufficient to help states, schools districts and schools, meet
the goal of having highly qualified teachers in each classroom by 2006.
As required by law, States receiving Title I aid through this act must
develop yearly report cards documenting the success of their students in
meeting achievement goals outlined in NCLB.
By the 2005-2006 school year, states must begin testing students
in grades 3-8 annually in reading and mathematics. The tests must be aligned
with state academic standards. A representative sample of students in the
4th and 8th grades in each state must also participate in the National
Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing program in reading and
mathematics every year to assure alignment of the state assessment process
with national standards. States will use information gathered from these
tests to determine whether a school is failing. Schools and districts that
do not show adequate yearly progress will be described as low performing.
Title I schools who fail to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two
years in a row will be identified as requiring corrective actions. Struggling
schools could receive extra resources, but also could be reorganized, or
Additionally, in this progress report, states must also advise the federal
government of the number of teachers who are not fully licensed, who are
teaching under an emergency credential or license waiver, and who are not
teaching in the field in which they were prepared and have demonstrated
In addition, at the beginning of each new school year, school districts
must provide to parents of students attending Title I schools, information
regarding the professional qualifications of the student's classroom teacher.
This information includes whether the teacher has met State qualifications
and licensing criteria for the grade levels and subject areas in which
the teacher provides instruction.
Parents are also entitled to know whether the teacher is teaching under
emergency or other provisional status through which State qualification
or licensing criteria have been waived, and whether the teacher assigned
to the students classroom is a "highly qualified" teacher.
FINAL REGULATIONS FOR NCLB
In August 2002, the Department of Education released proposed regulations
on part A of Title I of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (PL 107-110)
and invited the public to submit comments regarding the proposals.
On November 26, 2002, after reviewing over 700 comments, the
Department of Education released its final regulations regarding the No
Child Left Behind Act. The 377 page document covers most aspects of Title
I including accountability, school choice and teacher quality. Other provisions
in the proposed regulations include: Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP); Schoolwide
Programs; Local Education Agency (LEA) and School Improvement; Allocations
to LEAs; and Fiscal Requirements. The final regulations are in effect as
of January 2, 2003 (U.S. Department of Education, 2002).
The final regulations clarify that states can integrate AYP--the formulas
by which they define failing schools--into their existing accountability
systems. It is likely that some state officials will have to revisit accountability
systems that have been developed in recent years to meet the new law's
The final regulations maintain that all teachers of core subjects must
be highly qualified by 2005-2006. Because students with limited English
proficiency and students with disabilities must meet the same standards
as all other students, their teachers must meet the same standards for
content knowledge as other teachers. However, special educators who do
not directly instruct students on any core academic subject, or who only
provide consultation to highly qualified teachers of core academic subjects
in adapting curricula, using behavioral supports and interventions, and
selecting appropriate accommodations, are not subject to the same requirements
that apply to teachers of core academic subjects (U.S. Department of Education,
While building on the foundation of the Elementary and Secondary Education
Act, and retaining the prior legislation's basic framework of standards,
assessments, and accountability, NCLB implements some significant changes
in the way schools will go about educating our nation's youth, particularly
in regard to increased accountability for states, school districts, schools
and our nation's colleges of education.
References identified with an EJ or ED number have been abstracted and
are in the ERIC database. Journal articles (EJ) should be available at
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the ERIC Document Reproduction Service: (800) 443-ERIC.
Olson, Lynn, "States Anxious for Federal Guidance on Yearly Progress," Education Week, 27 November 2002.
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-110. [On-line]Available:
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education,
"Title I--Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged; 34 CFR
Part 200, Final Regulations" Federal Register 67, no. 231 (December 2,