Feds Want Proof that Arkansas Teachers are "Highly Qualified"

AUGUST 21, 2006 - Posted at 10:33 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas education officials have been given a little more than a month to fix classroom-staffing plans that a federal agency says suffers from "a number of serious deficiencies."

The federal Department of Education said in a notice last week that the plans lack measures to assure that poor and minority-group children are taught by the best teachers in numbers comparable to other children.  The federal agency gave the state until September 29 to revise the plan.

The federal No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's initiative to raise student achievement, calls for teachers of core academic subjects to be "highly qualified."  The law says that means they hold at least a bachelors degree, have full state certification and demonstrate knowledge in the core academic subjects that they teach.

The latest version of Arkansas' highly qualified teacher plan was submitted to the federal government in July.  The federal officials said it fell short of meeting four of the six standards for an acceptable plan, and only partially met the remaining two requirements, according to last week's federal notice to the state agency.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)