In 1998, Congress amended the Higher Education Act (HEA) to enhance the quality of teaching in the classroom by improving training programs for prospective teachers and the qualifications of current teachers. This report focuses on two components of the legislation: one that provides grants and another, called the "accountability provisions," that requires collecting and reporting information on the quality of all teacher training programs and qualifications of current teachers.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|If Congress decides to continue funding teacher quality enhancement grants in the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, it may wish to clarify whether all 59 states will be eligible for state grant funding under the reauthorization or whether eligibility would be limited to only those states that have not previously received a state grant. If Congress decides to limit eligibility to states that have not previously received a state grant, it may wish to consider changing the funding allocation for state grants.||House reconciliation bill (H 2669) for fiscal year 2008 does not include any funding for teacher quality enhancement (TQE) state grants. Instead, it proposes $50 million for eligible institutions to ensure that current and future teachers are highly qualified. The Senate reconciliation act, which is out of committee, also does not include any funding for TQE grants. According to Hill staff and Department of Education budget official, it is very unlikely that funds for these grants will be reinstated in the final reauthorized Higher Education bill.|
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Education||In order to effectively manage the grant program, the Secretary of Education should further develop and maintain a system for regularly communicating program information, such as reporting deadlines and successful and unsuccessful practices.|
|Department of Education||To provide information about the effectiveness of grant activities, the Secretary of Education should establish a systematic approach for evaluating all grant activities, including providing guidance to grantees on the types of information needed to determine effectiveness.|
|Department of Education||To improve the information collected under the accountability provisions, the Secretary of Education should define key terms from the legislation clearly.|
|Department of Education||To improve the information collected undr the accountability provisions, the Secretary of Education should allow sufficient time for verification of the required information.|