Teacher Assessment and Credentialling: The Role of the Federal Government in a State Function

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Education Law Reporter


testing teachers, federal government, no child left behind, fairness, validation of tests


This testing of teachers rests in the departments of education in the various states, reflecting the implied power that states have over education under the Tenth Amendment. The federal government's fairly recent requirement that all teachers be highly qualified, prompted in part by international studies indicating poor performance of math teachers, compelled all states receiving federal assistance to have in place processes for determining whether new and existing teachers meet the highly qualified requirement.

Through its use of the spending power, the federal government has sought to give force to what one author identifies as an assumption that the quality of teachers will “foster coordinated and comprehensive school reform.” Even though the federal government does not require that states use any particular means of determining highly qualified, the entrance of the federal government at all in an area traditionally considered the province of the states presents interesting legal issues. This paper will address issues concerning teacher qualifications and state testing under four categories: (1) the federalizing of education; (2) state interests in quality education; (3) validation of the teacher assessment test; and, (4) the fairness of the assessment process.


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