Thursday, December 08, 2005

700 teachers aids face certification or job loss

The No Child Left Behind Act mandates that programs accepting Title I can only hire teacher's aids that are certified as "highly qualified" or face funding loss. The provision is set to kick in June of next year, and the 700+ Title I teacher's aids in the District are scrambling to get certified.
The 113 aides who took the test in November have not been notified about whether they passed, officials said. The union has not determined how many are either completing their requirements for an associate's degree or taking training courses to prepare them to take the test. Still, Geo T. Johnson, executive director of the council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees that represents the aides and several other employee groups, said he believes about half of the members will be certified by June.

"What will happen in 2006 if people are not able to meet the requirement to make them highly qualified?" said Lucille C. Washington, president of the AFSCME local representing more than 1,200 teacher's aides. About 700 of them work in Title I programs and are required to be certified. "We've not had an answer."

Johnson said he thinks the uncertified aides could lose their jobs.

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