Sunday, December 11, 2005

Deadline Looms for School Aides, Hundreds Must Get Certification by June

By V. Dion Haynes,Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday December 8, 2005; Page DZ03

Here's an up and coming problem that we have not been hearing much about, paraprofessionals in the schools that must meet strict education requirements soon. These are people, as the article notes, that often have only a high school education. What the article does not say is that many of these people are part time workers, working at entry level wages, with few or no benefits. The article does state that little or no money has been put up for ther required education. And, if these people lose there jobs who will replace them? Go here for a list of what the law requires of these people and, of course, some right on comments from Susan Ohanian.

Officials in a union representing teacher's aides in the D.C. public schools say they fear that more than half of about 700 members could lose their jobs in June for failing to meet a provision of a federal law that requires them to be certified.

The No Child Left Behind law mandates that the country's 750,000 teacher's aides who are part of Title I programs for impoverished students be certified as "highly qualified" by June. The certification requires that they either have an associate's degree or two years of higher education or pass a test verifying their knowledge.

In recent years, teacher's aides have been playing a larger role in the classroom, offering tutoring and individual instruction for academically deficient students and translating lessons for students who are learning English. Most aides have been required to have only a high school diploma...

On the more encouraging side of things in New Hampshire, Most elementary school teachers with more than three years of experience will no longer need to take the Praxis II exams to be considered "highly qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
"This is an exciting new development that the federal Department of Education recognizes New Hampshire's rigorous certification and training process for elementary school teachers," said former teacher Sen. Iris Estabrook in a statement. "This eliminates any need for legislation at the state level on this matter, and assures teachers that they can be considered highly qualified without additional burdensome tests to the certification process."
We can only hope that this encouraging development will spread to other states. To say that passing a test or having a certain amount of education makes one highly qualified is absurd.

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