- The Washington Times - Monday, September 4, 2006

BALTIMORE (AP) — Teachers in one out of five Maryland classrooms fall short of the “highly qualified” standard established by the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, although Maryland was one of only nine states making a “good faith” effort to meet the goal.

The law called for 100 percent of classes nationwide to be taught by highly qualified teachers by the end of the 2004-05 school year.

To be highly qualified, teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree, hold state certification and demonstrate knowledge of basic academic areas such as English, math and science through standardized tests and teaching experience.

States have one more year to reach the goal or face consequences, such as losing federal grant money.

“We have 80 percent of our classes now taught by highly qualified teachers. Just two years ago, that number was 67 percent,” state Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick said. “But make no mistake about it — this will be a difficult goal for Maryland or any state to reach, but it is an important goal that we will work hard to reach.”

Fewer than 40 states, including Virginia, and the District partially met criteria and must submit revisions by the end of this month.

Four states — Hawaii, Missouri, Utah and Wisconsin — did not meet any of the requirements and must provide monthly progress reports to the department.

Teachers told the Baltimore Examiner that the law imposes new burdens on an already taxing profession.

“You have some teachers saying, ‘I’m a 30-year veteran who has won awards, but I’m not qualified?’” said Daniel Kaufman, a spokesman for the Maryland State Teachers Association, which represents about 65,000 teachers, education professionals and administrators across the state.

“The amount of time that a teacher has to spend on paperwork is overwhelming,” said Linda Dugan, a math teacher at Lime Kiln Middle School in Fulton, who has been teaching for 35 years and has achieved the highly qualified rating.

State officials said Baltimore had the lowest percentage of highly qualified teachers, at 46.8 percent.

Harford County had one of the highest in the Baltimore region, with 89.3 percent.

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