Education Week reports today that data collected from the states by the U.S. Department of Education show the percentage of core classes in the nation taught by highly-qualified teachers is around 94 percent for 2006-2007. The numbers for high-poverty schools are slightly lower, but still pretty high--illustrating once again that the gaping loophole in the teacher quality provision known as HOUSEE invites states to game the system. North Dakota, for instance, boasts a full 100 percent of its core-subject classes taught by highly-qualified teachers. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that's 100 percent in high-poverty schools, low-poverty schools, elementary schools, and secondary schools--every single core class taught by a highly-qualified teacher who demonstrates content knowledge expertise.
Others have already spoken about this problem quite eloquently. And though we admit to spotting a silver lining in here for charter schools, the fact remains that these latest overinflated data are just downright silly. Barnett Berry at the Center for Teaching Quality says as much:
The way states define highly-qualified teachers and what counts and doesn't count varies, ... rendering cross-state comparisons useless.
True, and the same adjective applies to the data themselves....