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No Educator Left Behind:

No Educator Left Behind is a series providing answers from the U.S. Department of Education to questions about the federal No Child Left Behind Act and how it will affect educators. If you have a question about No Child Left Behind, send an e-mail to Ellen Delisio, and we will submit your question to the Department of Education.


How does the highly qualified teacher definition apply to alternative teacher certification programs?


A "highly qualified" teacher is a teacher who: (1) has obtained full state certification; (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 teaches. According to guidance issued by the Department of Education, all teachers must have a four-year college degree and demonstrate subject matter competence.

However, states are given flexibility in how they implement teacher certification requirements. Teachers who are not yet fully certified may be considered to meet the certification requirements of the highly qualified definition if they are enrolled in a state-approved alternative certification program under which they: (1) receive high-quality professional development; (2) participate in a program of intensive supervision (such as a teacher mentoring program); (3) assume functions as a teacher only for a specified period of time not to exceed three years; and (4) demonstrate satisfactory progress toward full certification as prescribed by the state.

Read previous questions and answers in our No Educator Left Behind archive.