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Administrators: Aim of NCLB is admirable

November 15, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

While a federal mandate regarding public school teachers has sparked some extra work by teachers and administrators, its aim is good and admirable, administrators at school systems in the Tri-State area said.

As part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, public school teachers must meet a federal designation requiring them to be "highly qualified" by July 2006.

While working to ensure current teachers meet the federal designation, administrators interviewed said they are taking steps to ensure new teachers hired also will meet that status.

When new teachers are considered for jobs with the Chambersburg (Pa.) Area School District, one of the first criteria examined is whether they meet the "highly qualified" status, said Eric Michael, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the Chambersburg (Pa.) Area School District.

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"The intent of the law was good," Michael said. "You want highly qualified teachers teaching your son or daughter. You want people that know their subject area."

Frank Aliveto, deputy superintendent for Berkeley County (W.Va.) Schools, agreed.

"We want the highly qualified teachers in the classroom," Aliveto said. "I think it is important that the teachers be qualified in the areas they are teaching."

"We find the whole spirit of it (the requirement) is going to do nothing but improve the recruiting process," said Richard Gehrman Jr., supervisor of human resources and teacher personnel for Washington County Public Schools. "It makes us take a second look at a teacher."

Aliveto and Michael said it is becoming more difficult to find new teachers who are certified in particular subjects, including special education, math and science.

"The shortage areas are getting shorter," Gehrman said.

Aliveto said the school system used to only hire teachers in the spring, but it now is hiring throughout the year.

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