School district administrators and teachers are taking a hard look
at the “No Child Left Behind Act” and scratching their heads as to
whether they are in conformance with its mandates.
The problem is many of the federal mandates have not been
formulated and officials do not know if state regulations will
satisfy the yet-to-be written federal requirements.
When it became law last year, “No Child Left Behind” contained
fundamental issues that schools, school districts and states must
adhere to, or risk losing federal education dollars, including Title
I funds to economically disadvantaged schools.
In Burbank, federal funds make up more than $3 million of the
budget, the district’s Categorical Programs Coordinator Fred Lilly
At the school board meeting Thursday night, Lilly outlined various
aspects of the law. Of particular concern to the board and
administrators are the qualifications the federal law requires for
All teachers hired on or after the first day of the 2002-03 school
year who teach in a program supported by Title I funds must be
“highly qualified,” according to the law. However, the law does not
define what qualifications teachers must have.
Kim Anderson, coordinator of professional development, said the
district’s ultimate goal is to phase out emergency creden- tialed
teachers, as part of its plan to meet federal mandates.
“There is a teacher shortage all over the country,” Lilly said.
“You think that you can hire your teachers and fill all the positions
without an emergency credential? It’s just not going to happen.”
Another vague area of federal law is accountability and school
improvement. The law says states must annually review the progress of
schools receiving Title I funds to determine whether the school is
making adequate yearly progress as defined by the state.
In California, the state’s Academic Performance Index, rating
schools scholastically from a low of 200 to a high of 1,000, might
not be aligned with federal guidelines, but Lilly said he expects the
federal government to approve the state’s version.
District Supt. Gregory Bowman said it is unrealistic to think that
the many aspects of the law can be resolved in a short period of
“You have 50 states and you have 50 plans, and they all have to be
massaged to meet the requirements,” he said.