Wrightslaw l No Child Left Behind l IDEA 2004 l Fetaweb l Yellow Pages for Kids l Harbor House Law Press

 Home > Topics >  IDEA 2004 > Highly Qualified Special Education Teachers


The Special Ed Advocate
It's Unique ... and Free!

Enter your email address below:

 

2014 - 2015 Training Programs

Nov. 1 - Grand Rapids, MI

Nov 6 - McAllen, TX

Nov 18 - DesMoines, IA

Nov 21 - Temecula, CA

Dec 4 - OKC, OK

Full Schedule

Be a Hero ...

 Jason at Ft. Benning
... to a Hero
Learn more

Wrightslaw

Home
Topics from A-Z
Free Newsletter
Seminars & Training
Consultations
Yellow Pages for Kids
Press Room
FAQs
Sitemap

Books & Training

Wrightslaw Books & DVDs
Wrightslaw Storesecure store lock
  Advocate's Store
  Student Bookstore
  Exam Copies
Training Center
Bulk Discounts
New! Military Discounts
Mail & Fax Orders

Advocacy Library

Articles
Doing Your Homework
Ask the Advocate
FAQs
Newsletter Archives
Summer School Series
Success Stories
Tips

Law Library

Articles
Caselaw
IDEA 2004
No Child Left Behind
McKinney-Vento Homeless
FERPA
Section 504
Fed Court Complaints

Topics

Advocacy
ADD/ADHD
Allergy/Anaphylaxis
Assistive Technology
Autism Spectrum
Behavior & Discipline
Bullying
College/Continuing Ed
Damages
Discrimination
Due Process
Early Intervention (Part C)
Eligibility
ESY
Evaluations
FAPE
Flyers
Future Planning
Harassment
High-Stakes Tests
Homeless Children
IDEA 2004
Identification & Child Find
IEPs
ISEA
Juvenile Justice
Law School & Clinics
Letters & Paper Trails
LRE/Inclusion
Mediation
Military / DOD
No Child Left Behind
NCLB Directories
NCLB Law & Regs
Parental Protections
PE and Adapted PE
Privacy & Records
Procedural Safeguards
Progress Monitoring
Reading
Related Services
Research Based Instruction
Response to Intervention (RTI)
Restraints/Abuse
Retention
Retaliation
School Report Cards
Section 504
Self-Advocacy
Teachers & Principals
Transition
Twice Exceptional (2e)
VA Special Education

Resources & Directories

Advocate's Bookstore
Advocacy Resources
Directories
  Disability Groups
  International
  State DOEs
  State PTIs
Free Flyers
Free Pubs
Free Newsletters
Legal & Advocacy
Glossaries
   Legal Terms
   Assessment Terms
Best School Websites

 

What You Need to Know About IDEA 2004:
Highly Qualified Special Education Teachers

Print this page


"I have an undergraduate and a master's degree in special education. I hold certifications in LD, ED and MR. Do I meet the highly qualified teacher requirements in IDEA 2004?"

If you have a degree or degrees in special education, but not in the academic subjects you teach, you may not be highly qualified. If you teach core academic subjects, you must meet the following requirements to be highly qualified:

* You must have full state certification as a special education teacher or pass your State special education teacher licensing examination and hold a license to teach in the state.

* Your certification or license cannot be waived on an emergency, temporary, provisional basis.

* You must hold at least a bachelor's degree.

* You must demonstrate subject matter competence in the academic subjects you teach. Requirements for Special Education Teachers in IDEA 2004.

Note:
The highly qualified teacher requirements are somewhat different for new teachers and veteran teachers, and for elementary, middle school, and high school teachers. (For a complete description of these requirements, read "Chapter 6: NCLB for Teachers, Principals and Paraprofessionals" in Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind)

IDEA 2004 includes an "Exception for Special Education Teachers Teaching to Alternate Achievement Standards" and "Special Education Teachers Teaching Multiple Subjects" (the full text of the definition of highly qualified special education teacher is in 20 U.S.C. 1401 - Definitions).

How Can a Teacher Demonstrate Competence?

Your degrees are in "special education" which is not a core academic subject.

You may have taken enough courses in the academic subject(s) you teach to meet the highly qualified teacher requirements in your state.

States also have the option of developing a method by which current teachers can demonstrate competency in the subjects they teach. This method must be based on a "high objective uniform state standard of evaluation" (HOUSSE). In essence, these procedures must provide an objective way of determining if teachers have adequate subject matter knowledge in the subjects they teach. There are several requirements about these HOUSSE procedures that are too lengthy and detailed for this general article. (The publications listed at the end of this article will provide you with more information.)

Special Educators Who Do Not Provide Instruction

If you do not provide instruction in core academic subjects - English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science (complete list of core academic subjects), you do not have to meet the highly qualified teacher requirements.

To learn how the law affects you, you need to download and read these publications from the U. S. Department of Education:

Toolkit for Teachers is designed to answer questions about the "highly qualified teacher" provisions, testing, reading, scientifically based research, English language learners, Reading First grants, and safe schools.
www.ed.gov/teachers/nclbguide/nclb-teachers-toolkit.pdf

Highly Qualified Teachers: Improving Teacher Quality Non-Regulatory Guidance - While you may be tempted to pass on this publication from the U. S. Department of Education, we advise you to read it. It will answer many of your questions - and it's clearly written in a Q & A format. (Rev. August 03, 2005)
http://www.ed.gov/programs/teacherqual/guidance.pdf

Improving Teacher Quality answers questions like these:

* Must special education teachers who teach core academic subjects be highly qualified? (Question C-26)

* What activities may special education teachers carry out if they are not highly qualified in the core academic content areas being taught?" (Question C-27)

* Must elementary school subject specialists be highly qualified in all subjects or just the subject they teach? (Question C-28)

* Do teachers who primarily teach English language learners need to meet the highly qualified requirements? (Question C-22)

* Do short- and long-term substitute teachers need to meet the highly qualified requirements? (Question C-24)

As you read about changes in IDEA 2004, you need to remember that Congress intended to align the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) with the No Child Left Behind Act, the federal general education law. (The full text of the No Child Left Behind Act is in Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind)


Important Definitions

The term "core academic subjects means English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography." (No Child Left Behind Act, 20 U.S.C. Section 7801(11); see pages 65-66 of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind)

These definitions are from IDEA 2004 -

(B) REQUIREMENTS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS.--When used with respect to any public elementary school or secondary school special education teacher teaching in a State, such term means that--

(i) the teacher has obtained full State certification as a special education teacher (including certification obtained through alternative routes to certification), or passed the State special education teacher licensing examination, and holds a license to teach in the State as a special education teacher, except that when used with respect to any teacher teaching in a public charter school, the term means that the teacher meets the requirements set forth in the State's public charter school law;
(ii) the teacher has not had special education certification or licensure requirements waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis; and
(iii) the teacher holds at least a bachelor's degree.

(C) SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS TEACHING TO ALTERNATE ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS.--When used with respect to a special education teacher who teaches core academic subjects exclusively to children who are assessed against alternate achievement standards established under the regulations promulgated under section 1111(b)(1) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, such term means the teacher, whether new or not new to the profession, may either--

(i) meet the applicable requirements of section 9101 of such Act for any elementary, middle, or secondary school teacher who is new or not new to the profession; or
(ii) meet the requirements of subparagraph (B) or (C) of section 9101(23) of such Act as applied to an elementary school teacher, or, in the case of instruction above the elementary level, has subject matter knowledge appropriate to the level of instruction being provided, as determined by the State, needed to effectively teach to those standards.

(D) SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS TEACHING MULTIPLE SUBJECTS.--When used with respect to a special education teacher who teaches 2 or more core academic subjects exclusively to children with disabilities, such term means that the teacher may either--

(i) meet the applicable requirements of section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 for any elementary, middle, or secondary school teacher who is new or not new to the profession;
(ii) 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 such Act, which may include a single, high objective uniform State standard of evaluation covering multiple subjects; or
(iii) 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 such Act, which may include a single, high objective uniform State standard of evaluation covering multiple subjects, not later than 2 years after the date of employment.

Resources

Learn more about IDEA 2004.
Read more What You Need to Know About IDEA 2004 articles.

Revised: 05/24/09
Created: 12/16/04

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon The Special Ed Advocate: It's Free!

 

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
About the DVD Video

 

Copyright 1998-2014, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved.

Contact Us | Press Mission l Our Awards l Privacy Policy l Disclaimer l Site Map

What's New!

Now Shipping!

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Check it out!

Wrightslaw Store

The Advocate's Store

Get Help!

Blog the Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw on Facebook

Find us on Facebook

Wrightslaw Books

Student Discounts

Military Discounts


Wrightslaw: All About IEPs

About the Book
To Order

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book
To Order


About the Book

To Order


Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board

About the DVD Video
To Order


To Order


Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind

About the Book
To Order

Wrightslaw Multimedia Training


Understanding Your Child's
Test Scores (1.5 hrs)

Understanding Your Child's Test Scores

Learn More
To Order
Retail Price: $
24.95
Wrightslaw Special: $14.95

Special Education Law & Advocacy Training
(6.5 hrs)


Wrightslaw WebEx Special Education Law & Training Program (6.5 hrs)


Learn More
To Order
Retail Price: $99.95
Wrightslaw Special: $49.95