By GREG TOPPO, AP Education Writer, WASHINGTON, August 21, 2002

An estimated one in four public middle- and high-school classes is taught by a teacher not trained in the subject - and the problem is much worse in schools that serve poor and minority students.

The issue will receive broad attention this fall as the federal government, for the first time, requires schools to tell parents when their children are being taught by these teachers.

"It's clear that administrators have yet to get the message that they have to stop assigning teachers out of field," said Craig Jerald of the Education Trust, the Washington group that released the report Wednesday report. "Sure, shortages make it more difficult to tackle this problem, but there's good evidence that a lot of this is under our control."

The Education Trust, a nonprofit organization that advocates for urban and minority students, said statistics on teacher qualifications had not changed since 1993.

Part of an education plan signed in January by President Bush requires that if an instructor is assigned to a subject he is not qualified to teach, the principal must send home a note letting parents know within a month.

Jerald said the requirement "will create a hunger for the data reports that come out, and the data reports will embarrass state and local officials to do something on a systemwide basis."

....The group looked at whether classes in four core subjects - English, math, science and social studies - were assigned to a teacher who lacked a college major or minor in that field or a related field.

Nationally, 24.2 percent of classes met those criteria, but 12 states had more than 30 percent taught by teachers who did not. In four states - Delaware, Louisiana, New Mexico and Tennessee - the average exceeded one-third.

In schools that serve mostly poor students, nearly twice as many courses are taught by out-of-field teachers as in schools with few poor students, the analysis found. The problem also is worse in schools that mostly serve minority students: 29 percent compared with 21 percent for schools that have low minority enrollments.....

Note that Bush's plan is to embarrass administrators that employ this unacceptable practice, while Rubin's opinion is that covering up is a teacher's duty. Also note that this practice, scorned for being prevalent in lower socioeconomic areas, was being utilized in one of the most affluent areas of the country by Venette Biancalana, Principal of Avoca West School in Glenview, Illinois.

News Brief #1527 Category: School Staffing & Governance
Chicago Sun-Times, 22 August 2002
[Original article available from LINKS]

"Poor Illinois schools at bottom"

A study released by the Education Trust confirms what the Chicago Sun-Times revealed in a recent series of articles: Nearly half of all core subjectclasses in high-poverty high schools and middle schools in Illinois are taught by teachers without even a minor in the subject.

The Education Trust report ranked states based on teacher quality in their poorest schools. Illinois ranked almost dead last."Given all the talk and attention given to the subject of 'out of field'teaching over the last decade, you'd expect the situation to be improving," said Craig Jerald, lead author of the study. "In fact, it's gotten worse, particularly in high poverty, high minority schools."

The federal No Child Left Behind Act attempts to address the problem by requiring that all teachers in schools that receive Title I funding be "highly qualified" by 2005. "The state is going to have to do something drastic," said Glenn McGee, a former Illinois education superintendent.