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HIGHLY QUALIFIED TEACHERS - Statute

1. Adds a new definition.
“Highly qualified.” For any special education teacher, the term “highly qualified” has the meaning given the term in Section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, 2 except that such term also:
  • Includes the requirements described in Section 602(10)(B) of IDEA; and
  • Includes the option for teachers to meet the requirements of Section 9101 of ESEA by meeting the requirements of Section 602(10)(C) or (D) of IDEA.
[602(10)(A) of IDEA]


2 For purposes of this document, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) also is referred to as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, as amended.

Dialogue Starter - Cross-stakeholder

Reaction Questions

  1. ESEA requires all teachers to demonstrate subject matter proficiency in content areas they directly teach.
    How might the content matter proficiency requirements impact programs and services for students with disabilities?


  2. Why is it important for special education teachers to possess subject matter proficiency?


  3. Why is the possession of content mastery important in terms of:
    • Services
    • Programs
    • Outcomes
    • Achievement


  4. How might the content preparation requirements affect recruitment and retention of special education teachers?


Application Questions

  1. Individual states have the flexibility to set a “highly objective uniform state standard of evaluation” (HOUSSE) to define highly qualified requirements.

    How can one find out what options are offered by your state to become highly qualified?


  2. How can one find out how your state has defined HOUSSE for veteran teachers?


  3. How should students considering teacher preparation programs be informed of the qualifications they will have to meet to be considered highly qualified ?


  4. How will the highly qualified teacher requirements affect recruitment and retention of special education teachers?



    These questions were developed by the following stakeholders working together:


    Role: National Researcher
    Location: Florida

    Role: Superintendent
    Location: Illinois

    Role: Special Education Teacher
    Location: Pennsylvania

    Role: School Division–National Related Service Provider organization
    Location: Maryland

    Role: Local Special Education Director
    Location: Connecticut

    Role: National Technical Assistance Provider
    Location: California

    Role: National Technical Assistance Provider
    Location: Colorado

    Role: Government Relations–National Related Service Provider organization
    Location: Maryland