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Department of Education Solicits Comments on Highly Qualified Teacher Data Collection

In response to a recent solicitation from the U.S. Department of Education, AACTE will be submitting comments on a proposed data collection regarding “highly qualified teachers.” We also sent an action alert November 4 to members of our Grassroots Action Network, encouraging members to send their own comments as well.

In September 2012—more than a year ago—AACTE and the 90+ other members of the Coalition for Teaching Quality won a significant victory when Congress passed a law requiring the Department of Education to collect data regarding the number of teachers-in-training currently serving as teachers of record. Specifically, the Department of Education is required to submit a report to Congress on the extent to which students with disabilities, English learners, students in rural areas, and students from low-income families are taught by teachers-in-training. For more background on this issue, see this article from AACTE’s Advisor.

The Department of Education finally announced the data collection in September 2013 and invited public comment on it by November 12. While we are disappointed that the Department waited almost a year after Congress passed the law to begin the process of data collection, we are pleased that we will finally have data on who is teaching the children with greatest need.

Among AACTE’s primary concerns with the proposal is the Department’s plan to provide information on the number of teachers-in-training, but not on their students (as requested by Congress). Also, it’s important to urge the Department to make this data collection public and easily accessible.

If you’re interested in submitting comments, feel free to use AACTE’s template or to draft your own language. Click here to submit your comments (then click “Submit a Formal Comment” on the green button on the upper right-hand side of the web site). Remember, the deadline to comment on the proposal is November 12.

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Jon Gentile

Associate Director of Government Relations, AACTE