No Child Left Behind Act: Improved Accessibility to Education's Information Could Help States Further Implement Teacher Qualification Requirements

GAO-06-25 Published: Nov 21, 2005. Publicly Released: Nov 21, 2005.
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The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) of 2001 established qualification requirements that teachers of core academic subjects must meet by the end of the 2005-2006 school year. Congress has appropriated approximately $3 billion a year through the Title II, Part A (Title II), of NCLBA for teacher improvement programs since the law was passed. With the deadline approaching for all teachers to meet the requirements, GAO was asked to examine (1) the status of state efforts to meet NCLBA's teacher qualification requirements, (2) the use of Title II funds in selected districts, and (3) how the U.S. Department of Education (Education) monitors states and assists them with implementation of the requirements. To obtain this information, GAO reviewed teacher qualifications data submitted to Education by 47 states, conducted site visits to 6 states selected for variance in factors such as teacher requirements and geographic location, visited 11 school districts across these states identified as high-need, and interviewed national experts and Education officials.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Education The Secretary of Education should explore ways to make the Web-based information on teacher qualification requirements more accessible to users of its Web site. Specifically, the Secretary may want to more prominently display the link to state teacher initiatives, as well as consider enhancing the capability of the search function.
Closed – Implemented
The Department of Education (Education) immediately took steps in response to the GAO recommendation and reorganized information related to the teacher qualification requirements on its Web site. Specifically, Education created a category for documents related to the highly qualified teacher requirements on the "Policy" section of its Web site. The documents related to the implementation of these requirements, such as letters to state chief school officers and Title II monitoring reports, are consolidated under that category. In addition, Education made the various online resources for teachers more accessible through its Web site by creating a more prominently-displayed "Teachers" tab. By clicking on that tab, users are transferred to a Web page that includes a variety of teacher resources, including links to the Teacher-to-Teacher initiative and state and local initiatives to improve teacher qualifications. According to an Education official, all these steps were designed to make the Web site easier for its users to navigate.

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