The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) seems to be causing some confusion about Highly Qualified Teacher requirements. While it is true that ESSA, at the federal level, no longer requires that all teachers of core subjects meet the requirements of "highly qualified," Ohio continues to require highly qualified teachers in core academic subjects in the 2016-2017. This is dictated by current state legislation, report card requirements and the state equity plan.
The state will continue to provide a Highly Qualified Teacher Toolkit to support districts during the 2016-2017 transition year.
Through this transition year, the department will work with education stakeholders from across the state to redefine teacher qualifications in Ohio. OFT leader Terri Hook, president of the Oregon City Federation of Teachers, Local 1080, and OFT Director of Professional Issues Deb Tully will represent OFT in the stakeholder conversations. Hook also is a member of the OFT Executive Committee and she chairs the OFT Educational Issues Standing Committee.
It is important to note that there are revisions to highly qualified teacher planning requirements for all districts called for in the state’s equitable access plan, part of the federal Excellent Educators for All Initiative approved last year. This initiative called for states to develop state plans to ensure that poor and minority students are not taught by non-HQT, less experienced or out-of-field teachers at higher rates than other students.
All districts and schools must complete six highly qualified teacher items in the Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plan (CCIP) Highly Qualified Teacher Component. Highly qualified items one, two and six, which districts have completed in the past, were due July 1. Equity items three, four and five, which are new and will require each district to involve a local stakeholder group, are due Sept. 30. Please note that districts and schools will no longer receive annual letters with instructions regarding their highly qualified teacher requirements; all necessary information appears in the CCIP.
Ohio's Highly Qualified Document explains what is required. This document can prepare members to give input into areas three, four and five at the local level. It also would be useful for LPDCs and those who do bargaining in your local to have a copy of this document.