Thought of the Day: CTE Teachers can be Highly Qualified in Core Academic Subjects

One other hurdle that CTE teachers have to teaching academic subjects, beyond the misunderstanding of what their credential allows, and also the bad policy of not allowing them to gain supplementary authorizations, is that many administrators and CTE teachers may not realize that California Designated Subjects credential holders can be recognized as “Highly Qualified” by federal/state standards, which originally came from No Child Left Behind.  (I should note my personal opinion that the Highly Qualified designation or lack thereof does not necessarily mean one truly is qualified or not, as it is clear that there are many Type I and Type II errors that can occur, but none the less, getting this designation is an important legality for schools to keep federal funding.)

UPDATE: Since writing this original post, I have discovered that in California CTE teachers who are teaching applied academics are automatically considered Highly Qualified, as I will be posting about soon.   But for anyone who is interested in knowing more about how to potentially get the Highly Qualified designation, I have kept this article online.

The process of getting recognized as being Highly Qualifed is easiest for teachers who obtained a credential before July 1, 2002, as they can be considered “not new” teachers, and the High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE) process gives many ways that a teacher can be recognized as Highly Qualified. For those who obtained a credential after July 1, 2002, they can, in essence, use a subset of the HOUSSE process.   In either case here is how you can do it:

HOUSSE is based upon getting 100 or more points, where different past activities can earn various amounts of points.  To make this process easier, I have also put online a Highly Qualified Teacher Subject-Matter Competency Calculator that I created for Highlands Community Charter School to help our teachers be officially recognized as “Highly Qualified”

College Credits in the Subject Area

Look at how many college credits one has in the core subject they are trying to be recognized as highly qualified in.  If one has over 32 credits, you are “in like Flynn”, whether you are a “new” or “not new” teacher.   If you are a “not new” teacher, and you have less than 32 credits, you can still get points towards the 100 you need.  (And if you want to get additional college credits, you might check out as they can grant legitimate college credits based upon life experience.)

While doing this, one should consider what type of credits might be considered within the core subject, for example by the Administrator’s Assignment Manual, Computer Science credits could potentially be considered part of Math.  I also have these on the Subject Areas tab in the spreadsheet.

If one has a Masters in Education (or doctorate in education), it appears that this alone will get 60 points towards the requirement on the HOUSSE process.

Prior Teaching Experience

Prior teaching experience in the academic subject also counts towards getting points on the HOUSSE, and if you have taught at the college or other postsecondary level, this can give you a lot more points quickly.

Leadership and Service to the Profession

There are other ways of demonstrating “Leadership and Service to the Profession”, such as writing publications within the academic field you are trying to become highly qualified in.  What is interesting, is the default list of criteria for “Leadership and Service to the Profession” does not include “Service in a profession within the content area”.

This again, shows the discrimination against CTE teachers, as if one was to only follow the default criteria, then a retired editor of a newspaper might not be considered “Highly Qualified” in English.   Thankfully, by CDE guidelines, schools may develop their own list of acceptable leadership and service activities, as long as they use it uniformly and make the list available to the public upon request.

Portfolio and Observations

“Not New” teachers can also “fake it ’til you make it”.  Well, that doesn’t quite sound right.  But, a teacher who doesn’t automatically meet the Highly Qualified criteria, and didn’t get 100 points on Part 1 of the HOUSSE, can still be designated as being Highly Qualified through direct observations or a portfolio.  This just requires having an administrator who is willing to work with the CTE teacher.

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