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Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind FAQ's: Teachers

No Child Left Behind includes many new responsibilities and requirements for states, school districts, and schools. The law also includes new rights and responsibilities for children who attend public schools that receive Title I funds and their parents.

These "Frequently Asked Questions" from the No Child Left Behind website at www.nclb.gov will answer many of your questions about the following topics:

Teachers

34. How will this law help my child's teacher?
35. How can I help my child's teacher?

34. How will this law help my child's teacher?

Nothing is more important to a child's education at school than having a well-prepared teacher. That's why No Child Left Behind puts special emphasis on teaching. Right now, some children aren't getting teachers who have mastered what they are teaching:

Just 41 percent of teachers of mathematics had math as an area of study in school. That's 30 percentage points lower than the international average.

In English classes, one-fifth of all public school students in grades seven through twelve were taught by teachers who did not have at least a minor in English, literature, communications or journalism.

In history and physical science, more than one out of every two children is being taught by a teacher who has never studied or practiced the subject in any concentrated way.

That's more than 4 million students in physics, chemistry, and history classes with teachers lacking the best preparation for teaching their subjects.

35. How can I help my child's teacher?

The best thing to do is get involved and make sure your school knows about all the new opportunities in the law including grants for retraining. Talk to your school board members and meet with your child's principal. Remind them that No Child Left Behind gives states and districts the flexibility to find innovative ways to improve teacher quality, including alternative certification, merit pay, and bonuses for people who teach in high-need subject areas like math and science.

You have a right to know how your child is doing. That starts with meeting with your child's teacher, working with your child on homework, and spending time reading and talking. But the most important thing is to understand how education is changing and to help your schools enter the new era of No Child Left Behind.

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