When I read the headlines about the state of Missouri being one of four that failed the No Child Left Behind requirement for qualified teachers, I was naturally concerned.
Could there be that many more unqualified teachers in Missouri classrooms than there are in 46 other states.
Fortunately, as I read the article I realized it was all a government bureaucracy problem. The teachers our federal government is most concerned about are the ones who have been in the classroom the longest, those who received their teaching certification before 1988 when lifetime certificates were given. That number includes me since I received my degree in 1981.
No Child Left Behind requires that teachers show a mastery of their subjects, a laudable goal. At the moment, I fall into that category by the government's standards, since my lifetime certificate is for teaching social studies in grades 7-12, but I have taken a test and received certification to teach communication arts in grades 5-9.
One of the Missouri teachers who is not considered highly qualified, according to a Springfield News-Leader article, teaches a law class at Ozark. The teacher has a degree to teach English, but those teaching law classes need to have a degree in social studies. The school district considers the teacher highly qualified to teach law because he has a law degree. That's not enough to satisfy the education bureaucracy.
My guess is most of the teachers under question are highly qualified, but Missouri is stuck with this stigma because of some prickly bureaucrats justifying their existence as they enforce a poorly conceived plan for our nation's schools.