The term Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) was a federal initiative under the No Child Left Behind - Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The act required all teachers who teach in a core content area(s) to demonstrate content mastery in the specific content area for which they are teaching. Under the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the highly qualified requirement is removed effective July 1, 2016.
Content Mastery Requirements
Under the new ESSA law, the requirement for content mastery is left to states to determine. Idaho code requires a person teaching in Idaho to hold the proper certificate and endorsement applicable to the assignment being taught. Idaho will be reviewing the certification and endorsement requirements to determine if additional requirements, above and beyond proper certification and endorsement will be required in the future.
The following is applicable until the Idaho State Board Education makes recommendations and any changes have been officially approved by legislation:
A Standard Elementary Certificate with an All Subjects K/8 Endorsement allows the certificate holder to teach any subject kindergarten through eighth (8th) grade. There are no additional highly qualified requirements that need to be met. This includes, but is not limited to science, social studies, English language arts, mathematics, etc. in sixth (6th), seventh (7th) and eight (8th) grades.
An Exceptional Child Certificate with a Generalist K/12 Endorsement allows the certificate holder to teach any subject identified within goals and objectives on a special education student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). There are no additional highly qualified requirements that need to be met to teach any subject to students who are on an IEP. This includes, but is not limited to science, social studies, English language arts, mathematics, etc. to sixth through twelve grade (6th-12th) special education students. This does not allow the Generalist K/12 teacher to teach core content assignments to students who are not on an IEP.
A person teaching secondary core content will need to hold a Secondary Certificate with the applicable specific content endorsement. Example: a person teaching eleventh grade English would need to hold the Standard Secondary Certificate with an English 6/12 Endorsement.