Teacher and Paraeducator Quality

The reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has new provisions that will have a dramatic impact on the work of teachers and education support professionals.

The New Jersey model for identifying highly qualified teachers
The New Jersey Department of Education has released its guidelines for determining whether New Jersey teachers are “highly qualified” under the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (the so-called “No Child Left Behind” Act).  The forms at the end of the document will help you determine if you meet New Jersey’s requirements. (Also included on this page are Highly Qualified Teacher frequently asked questions.)

What the law says

States must ensure that teachers and paraeducators meet certain qualifications spelled out in the law. Teachers (including those with certification from alternative routes) must be "highly qualified" in the subjects they teach by the end of the 2005-06 school year. All paraprofessionals in Title I funded programs must meet the new paraprofessional requirements.

States must also ensure that:

  • All teachers are high qualified by being fully licensed or certified by the state, and not having any certification or licensure requirements waived on an emergency, temporary or provisional basis.
  • New elementary teachers have at least a bachelor's degree, and pass a state test demonstrating subject knowledge and teaching skills in reading, writing, mathematics and other areas of any basic elementary school curriculum.
  • New middle or secondary teachers must have at least a bachelor's degree, and demonstrate competency in each of the academic subjects taught, OR complete an academic major or coursework equivalent to a major, OR a graduate degree in each of the academic areas in which the teacher teaches, OR advanced certification.
  • Existing elementary, middle and secondary teachers must have at least a bachelor's degree, and meet the requirements for new teachers described above, OR demonstrate competency in all subjects taught through a uniform state evaluation standard.
  • All Title I paraprofessionals must have a high school diploma or the equivalent and prove that they are highly qualified. There are three ways that paraprofessionals may prove they are highly qualified: complete an associate degree OR complete two years of college OR demonstrate knowledge of reading, writing and math and the ability to assist in instructing these subjects.
    Guidelines and reports for paraprofessionals (NJDOE)