Teacher Standards and Practices Commission

465 Commercial Street NE

Salem OR  97301


February 7-8, 2008











A team from the U.S. Department of Education completed a three day visit with the Oregon Department of Education to evaluate the Title II provisions of the NCLB.


Title II includes the definitions for Highly Qualified Teachers (HQT).  Two years ago, this visit resulted in the commission’s revision of the HQT rules including significant changes to the state’s HOUSSE definitions.


This time, the team objected to including Alternative Assessment as a rigorous state test.  They pointed out that is similar to HOUSSE and that HOUSSE is not available for new teachers.  While the analogy is not completely accurate, the federal definition requires that each new elementary teacher pass a rigorous state test of knowledge in reading, writing and mathematics.  The state’s basic skills requirements are not sufficient.


Since January 2005, the date of the last monitoring visit, 34 people have achieved licensure and endorsement in multiple subjects through the alternative assessment pathway.  (Notably, many teachers who have requested alternative assessment in this area have gone back and passed the test in lieu of completing the required 60 hours of coursework.)


We have not yet had a chance to talk with the Department about how they would like to treat the 34 cases.


The teachers are appropriately licensed, but may not be considered “highly qualified” under the federal definition.  [In many ways, it is not different that our appropriately licensed 7th and 8th grade teachers are not “highly qualified” in many cases.]


Additionally, the Department made a finding because a flow-chart produced by the Executive Director explaining special education requirements included an error indicating that National Board’s certification could make a teacher highly qualified.  Since new elementary special education teachers must be highly qualified in the same manner as general education elementary teachers (by passing a rigorous state content test), National Boards is not an option.  Although we pointed out that the rules do not include the reference to National Boards, and therefore, we do not apply the flow chart but the rules to analysis, they felt the possible confusion to the field merited a “finding.”  Interestingly, we would have been better off to not share any of the documents we have used in presentations (some over 2 years ago) than to be penalized for an error in one flow-chart.