State says districts teachers are 'highly qualified'

December 21, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The federal No Child Left Behind Act report cards issued for Pennsylvania on Wednesday closely mimic those the state developed earlier this year, except they include a section showing 95 percent of the teachers meet the "highly qualified" standard.

Franklin County, Pa., schools fared better than the state average in 2005-06, with the five districts posting a 97 percent average for teachers who meet the "highly qualified" benchmarks.

"Highly qualified" is a designation for teachers who hold full certification and a bachelor's degree. They also must have completed a content area major, passed a content area test and completed teacher education coursework.

The state is one of the leaders in the country in regard to the "highly qualified" standard, Pennsylvania Department of Education Spokesman Mike Storm said.


He said all states were asked to have 100 percent of teachers meet "highly qualified" last year, but the federal government recognized "a good-faith effort."

"By the time they get certification in Pennsylvania, they are already meeting 'high-quality teacher,'" Storm said.

Storm said Pennsylvania's rigorous standards and quality colleges and universities produce thousands of valuable teachers each year.

"Surrounding states look for our teachers. We are providing really good teachers to our neighbors," Storm said.

NCLB report cards for "highly qualified" teachers show that 100 percent of Greencastle-Antrim School District's educators qualify. Chambersburg Area School District posted 98 percent, Fannett-Metal School District has 91 percent, Tuscarora School District has 97 percent and Waynesboro Area School District has 99 percent.

The Franklin County schools also reported having few or no teachers who have been issued emergency certifications.

Those certifications must be granted by the state and indicate the districts hired someone without all certifications. That happens when they have few options in the hiring process, Storm said.

Teachers with emergency certifications are required to obtain necessary training, he said.

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