Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Congress, rushing to recess: ‘TEACH FOR AMERICA’ TEACHERS ARE “HIGHLY QUALIFIED” …with five weeks of training

Congress Approves Stopgap Spending Bill; Deems Alternative-Route Teachers "Highly Qualified"

ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) cAPITOL cONNECTION |

26 September 2012  ::  Before leaving Washington, D.C., both the House and Senate approved a six-month stopgap spending package that will temporarily fund the government through March 2013. The stopgap bill, which the White House supports (PDF), means lawmakers can focus on other pressing fiscal matters during the short, post-election session (see "Congress Hits the Campaign Trail"). But it also means Congress has once again failed to set the budget before the start of the federal fiscal year, which begins October 1.

The continuing resolution provides a modest 0.6 percent across-the-board spending increase, which translates to an additional $417 million for federal education programs. However, the looming 8.2 percent sequestration cuts would completely wipe out that increase and slash funding even further (see "Tick, Tock Goes the Sequester Clock").

The measure also includes some policy changes, including an education-related provision that will allow teachers in alternative-route programs to continue to be considered "highly qualified" through the 2013–14 school year and requires the U.S. Department of Education to report how many disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, rural students, and English language learners are served by teachers in alternative-route programs.

Proponents of alternative-route programs, including Chiefs for Change, KIPP, and Teach for America, are pleased with the extension. Meanwhile other groups, including the Council for Exceptional Children, the NAACP, and the National PTA, which are concerned that high-needs students are disproportionately

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