Crisis Brewing?

Brief

Crisis Brewing?

Paraprofessionals and the No Child Left Behind Act

Abstract

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires that, by 2006, all employees providing instructional support (paraprofessionals, teacher aides, tutors, etc.) in a program or school supported with Title I, Part A funds meet one of the following criteria: hold an associate's degree (or higher); complete at least two years in an institution of higher education; or obtain a passing score on a test that measures reading, writing, and mathematics competency. This policy brief highlights key findings of an Urban Institute study focusing on this provision of NCLB, and elaborates on the policy implications of those findings. These include an information problem (many jurisdictions cannot document paraprofessional compliance with NCLB), a trade-off between complying with the spirit of the law and preventing a staffing problem, and an emphasis on testing over further education.

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