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How Can I Know if My Child’s Teacher is Highly Qualified?

by Wrightslaw

Do I have a right to know the qualifications of my child’s teachers? If the answer is “yes,” how long does the school have to provide me with this information?

The answer is “yes” if your child attends a school that receives Title I funding, and “maybe” if the school does not receive Title I funds.

At the beginning of the school year, your school district must notify parents of all children who attend Title I schools of their right to request information about the qualifications of their child’s teachers and paraprofessionals, including . . .

(1) Whether the teacher has met State qualification and licensing criteria for the grade levels and subject areas in which the teacher provides instruction;

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

(3) 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.

(4) Whether the child is provided services by paraprofessionals and, if so, their qualifications.

Are teachers who instruct students with Specific Learning Disabilities in general education classes “highly qualified”?

Teachers are “highly qualified” to teach academic subjects. To be “highly qualified,” special ed teachers must demonstrate that they are competent to teach academic subjects. They can do this by having a degree in the subject or by passing a knowledge and skills test. The knowledge and skills tests are developed by state departments of education so the quality and content differs between states. Most tests are not rigorous.

Special ed teachers who are not highly qualified can assist highly qualified teachers, give advice about accommodations, etc.

If you want to get information about the qualifications of your child’s teachers, you need to make your request in writing. When you make requests in writing, you make it more likely that you will get an answer.

Read NCLB: Parent’s Rights to Know Qualifications of Child’s Teachers. This article answers questions about highly qualified teachers and includes a sample letter you can use to request information about the qualifications of your child’s teachers.

If the school does not answer your request in a couple of weeks, send another letter explaining that you sent a letter on XXX Date and haven’t received a response. Attach letter #1 to this letter.

If the school does not provide the information you requested, contact the No Child Left Behind Regional Representative for your state. NCLB Representatives are responsible for helping states comply with the law and for monitoring compliance in their region. To find the Regional Representative for your state, click here:

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16 Comments on "How Can I Know if My Child’s Teacher is Highly Qualified?"


May I make the request for qualifications even though my child has no learning challenges? Talking w/guidance counselor since sept. New teacher and class is out of control making it not conducive for my child’s learning style. He was a long term sub in another elementary in our district. Is there any way to find out if there were complaints made. Thank you



Are teachers informed about a parent’s FOIA request for copies of their resumes? AND are these parent requests placed in their child’s permanent records?

I had made such a request, and it resulted in a cancelled meeting, a newly scheduled PPT, a furious psychologist, and strained relations with the team members.

I appreciate any insight and/or advice.

Thank you.


I hold a Professional Teaching License Speech/Language Pathology K – 21, a Professional Teaching License in Reg. Education K – 6 grade, I hold an endorsement in Affective Needs K – 21, am HQ in English (high school). I’ve taught for 29 years and I’m now retired, but enjoying substitute teaching. I have been offered a 6 week (long term) sub job working with ILC (multiple handicapped) students. I will be working with 2 other HQ teachers. Do I need to be HQ to work with these Profound kids in this situation?


Regular and Charter schools in Arizona did not provide my autistic son with qualified teachers, programs, and he should have been placed in private autism school by the state we were treated like an enemy not a constituent in my son’s education. I am disgusted that “experts” do as little as possible, hire lawyers to skirt laws, while I am trying to make ends meet trying to provide food and shelter for my family. I have no money to fight the schools, or hire advocates and lawyers, in the meantime my autistic son can barely read or knows anything and he is a more mild case. Schools collect over 29,000 a year for him yet do minimal. We took him out of school and have him doing an online class for high school while we figure out who is qualified to help him . He is almost 15 and things need to change for him quickly .


I am nearing the end of my BA degree program. I will have a BA in SpEd and one in Gen Ed. If I apply for a Gen Ed license and add a SpEd Generalist endorsement would that make me highly qualified or would I have to have a Master’s in SpEd?