Special education advocates are worried that a provision in federal law about who is considered a highly qualified teacher could be perpetuated when the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee meets today.
Although a Senate subcommittee didn’t address the issue during a vote about the budget on Tuesday, groups including the National Center on Learning Disabilities, Easter Seals, and the National Disability Rights Network say the issue isn’t dead just yet.
In essence, the provision allows teachers still working on their certification to be considered “highly qualified”—a designation created by 2001’s No Child Left Behind law. The law says teachers must already be certified to qualify, but Education Department regulations created about the law allowed for teachers in alternative routes to be considered highly qualified, even if they were still working on their certification. For example, people in the classroom as part of the Teach for America training program would fall into this category.