Highly Qualified Teacher Memorandum
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law on December 10, 2015. The ESSA replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and is the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
The NCLB law itself stated that any school that receives funds for educationally disadvantaged students (Title I funds) must inform parents if their child is assigned a teacher for four or more consecutive weeks who is not "highly qualified" under the tenets of NCLB, now ESSA. According to the NCLB law, a "highly qualified teacher" is one who:
- Has obtained a Bachelor's degree or higher;
- Has obtained full state certification;
- Has demonstrated competency in the core academic subject area(s) that he/she teaches by passing a content area test or enough hours to be equivalent to a major (24 semester hours). The core academic subjects are English; Reading or Language Arts; Mathematics; Science; Foreign Languages; Social Studies (Civics, Government, Economics, History, Geography); and the Arts (Visual Arts, Drama, Music).
Although NCLB was designed to make changes in teaching and learning in order to increase students' academic achievement, the Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) provision under NCLB was eliminated from the ESSA. Despite this fact, I am pleased to inform you that all of our teachers in the Belleville Public Schools District are considered highly qualified as all educators in New Jersey still are required to hold the appropriate state certificate/license for their given position.
Additionally, under the ESSA, all schools receiving Title I funds must inform parents of their right to ask schools about the professional qualifications of their child's teachers and paraprofessionals. As all of our schools receive Title I funding, administration is happy to share this information with you upon your request.
Should you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact your son/daughter's building principal or me.
Richard D. Tomko, Ph.D., M.J.
Superintendent of Schools