Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home


The Eggplant

 

in the collection  

AFT Reports Teachers' Aides Lag Behind on Federal Law

Ohanian Comment: I have reported in some depth on this atrocity. The requirements are ridiculous, and no one is standing up for paraprofessionals. This shouldn't be a surprise. Nobody is standing up for kids either.

More than half of all states have failed to help paraprofessionals meet the standards for practitioners outlined in the No Child Left Behind Act, asserts a new report. If the problem is unchecked, its author warns, many teachers' aides could be kicked out of the classroom.

Under the law passed in 2001, an aide must earn a two-year degree, accumulate two years' worth of credits toward a four-year diploma, or pass a state assessment by Jan. 8, 2006.

The law does not specify what will happen to teachers' aides who do not receive required credentials by that date, but it is widely believed that such paraprofessionals who do not fulfill the requirements will no longer be able to assist teachers.

It is the responsibility of states to help paraprofessionals satisfy the criteria by offering multiple assessment options, posting information on the Web about the requirements, and alerting localities to the way in which state resources should be spent on the effort, maintained Tish Olshefski, who wrote the report for the American Federation of Teachers and serves as its director of paraprofessional and school-related personnel.

Ms. Olshefski said she was not surprised by the findings, adding that she credits those states that have made inroads in the preparation of paraprofessionals .

"A lot of states got a lot done in one year," she said.


Illinois, New York on Top
Only Illinois and New York state were rated as "very well prepared" in the report, which was released this month. Kansas, New Jersey, New Mexico, and North Carolina earned a "well prepared" rating.

Twenty-seven other states made insufficient progress, according to the AFT report. Arkansas, California, and Vermont are at the bottom of the list.

Most states in that category did not do a good job of explaining to districts how they should use state resources to pay for compliance efforts, Ms. Olshefski said.

A spokeswoman for the California education department said state officials believe assistance should be the responsibility of school districts. Arkansas and Vermont officials did not respond to the criticism.

Neither Delaware nor the District of Columbia provided data.

The 1.2 million-member teachers' union completed the analysis based on data provided by the states, Ms. Olshefski said.


— Julie Blair
Education Week
http://www.edweek.org/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=19Para.h23


INDEX OF THE EGGPLANT


FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.