Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013

Floor Speech

By:  Judy Chu
Date: Sept. 13, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. CHU. Mr. Speaker, we know that in too many states and districts across the country, students with the greatest needs are being taught by teachers with little or no training, including those enrolled in alternative route teacher preparation programs. That's why I am so glad this legislation requires the Department of Education to provide Congress--and the nation--with comprehensive information on the extent to which our highest-need students, including students with disabilities, English learners, students from rural communities, and low-income students, are being taught by teachers-in-training who are enrolled in alternative route programs, disaggregated by state and district, as well as by student subgroups. The data that will be included in this report should be made public and disseminated to parents and other interested parties so that is understandable and actionable. Specifically, the provision requires:

The Secretary of Education must submit a report to Congress by 12/31/13 that provides a comprehensive picture, with state-level and LEA data, on the extent to which the following categories of students are taught by alternative route teachers-in-training who are deemed ``highly qualified'' pursuant to 34 CFR 200.56(a)(2)(ii): students with disabilities, English learners, students in rural areas, and students from low-income families. 34 CFR 200.56(a)(2)(ii) is the regulation that allows individuals participating in alternative route programs but who have not yet completed their full state certification to be labeled ``highly qualified.'' This regulation was struck down by the Ninth Circuit in the Renee v. Duncan lawsuit, but written into statute in the December 2010 CR.

To produce the report required by this amendment, states and LEAs will be required to compile the data that they are already required to have under Section 1111(h)(6)(A) of NCLB regarding the professional qualifications of all their teachers, including: ``Whether the teacher has met State qualification and licensing criteria for the grade levels and subject areas in which the teacher provides instruction.

Whether the teacher is teaching under emergency or other provisional status through which State qualification or licensing criteria have been waived.

The baccalaureate degree major of the teacher and any other graduate certification or degree held by the teacher, and the field of discipline of the certification or degree.

This data will provide essential information to parents, to educators and to policy makers so that informed decisions can be made so that we can strengthen one of our nation's most valuable assets, our public schools. We will be in a much better position to look at our neediest students and our neediest rural and urban school districts and determine the extent to which well prepared teachers are or are not equitably distributed. Mr. Speaker, I look forward to receiving this important report from the Secretary on December 31, 2013.

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