States may lack abled educators

By Ben Feller The Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Under federal pressure, most states are close to getting teachers who are rated highly qualified in front of every math, history, language and other core class by the end of the school year. Or so they say.

Thirty-three states claim 90 percent to 99 percent of their main classes have teachers who are highly qualified. That means, based on the No Child Left Behind law, that those teachers have a bachelor’s degree, a state license and proven competency in every subject they teach.

Most of the other states put their numbers a tier below – 70 percent to 89 percent – and a few are way behind, according to a review of new state data by The Associated Press.

The accuracy of those accounts is now under review by the Education Department, which is checking not just total numbers but also the figures within poor and struggling schools.

President Bush and Congress have promised parents that 100 percent of core classes will have highly qualified teachers by the end of the school year.

That pledge is a big part of Bush’s education law, the pride of his domestic agenda.

With few states, if any, expected to reach full compliance on time, the department plans to allow an extra year to states that have shown a good-faith effort.

Others could lose millions of dollars in aid if federal officials don’t see enough progress.