HIGHLY QUALIFIED TEACHERS - Statute

4. Includes requirements for special education teachers teaching multiple subjects.
When used with respect to a special education teacher who teaches two or more core academic subjects exclusively to children with disabilities, “highly qualified” means that the teacher may either:
  • Meet the applicable requirements of Section 9101 of ESEA for any elementary, middle or secondary school teacher who is new or not new to the profession;
  • In the case of a teacher who is not new to the profession, demonstrate competence in all the core academic subjects in which the teacher teaches in the same manner as is required for an elementary, middle or secondary school teacher who is not new to the profession under Section 9101(23)(C)(ii) of ESEA, which may include a single, high objective uniform state standard of evaluation (HOUSSE) covering multiple subjects; or
  • In the case of a new special education teacher who teaches multiple subjects and who is highly qualified in mathematics, language arts or science, demonstrate competence in the other core academic subjects in which the teacher teaches in the same manner as is required for an elementary, middle or secondary school teacher under Section 9101(23)(C)(ii) of ESEA, which may include a single, HOUSSE covering multiple subjects, not later than two years after the date of employment.
[602(10)(D) of IDEA]

Dialogue Starter - Cross-stakeholder

Reaction Questions

  1. Special education teachers who teach academic content must demonstrate subject proficiency.
    Why does IDEA require that teachers working in secondary settings be certified in the core academic subject areas in which they teach?


  2. IDEA allows states to set their own procedures around how teachers become highly qualified (HOUSSE).
    • What are the implications of this flexibility for securing adequate numbers of highly qualified teachers?
    • How will this flexibility influence formal preparation of certified teachers in the states?
    • What might the impact be on traditional teacher education programs?


  3. How might highly qualified teacher requirements impact programs and services for students with disabilities?


  4. What barriers exist in your state in meeting the highly qualified requirement and how can these barriers be addressed?


  5. What barriers exist in your district in meeting the highly qualified requirement and how can these barriers be addressed?


Application Questions

  1. How might veteran teachers be prepared to understand their state’s HOUSSE requirements?


  2. What can school districts do to help principals, teachers, and paraprofessionals to understand the requirements for highly qualified in their state?


  3. What approaches to teacher assignments and school scheduling might help to facilitate the allocation of highly qualified teachers in core academic subjects?


  4. How can states and school districts support special education teachers in meeting the highly qualified requirements?


  5. How might states’ HOUSSE definition of highly qualified teachers impact the retention of special education teachers?


  6. Is it advisable for secondary special education teachers to become certified under HOUSSE to teach multiple subjects in multiple grades? Why or Why not?



    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