Education Proposal Would Link Funding to Teacher Certification

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- The Clinton administration wants to base federal education aid on how well school systems phase out uncertified teachers.

"America's public schools are going to rise and fall on the quality of their teachers," Education Secretary Richard Riley said, adding that schools in poorer districts rely too heavily on aides to instruct students.

President Clinton's proposal for the $15 billion Elementary and Secondary Education Act also would require states and school districts to reduce class size, turn around failing schools, issue report cards to parents on how schools are doing, set strict academic and classroom discipline standards and end the practice of promoting children who are not academically ready by helping them with more after-school and summer programs.

It would renew the act, which provides, on average, about 7 percent of states' education spending. Poorer schools, however, tend to get a larger share.

The Clinton proposal has critics. Some educators said yesterday the timelines are too long and the standards are too low. Republicans say the plan runs counter to their efforts to ensure states and school districts have control of their policies.

"They would impose Washington solutions to local problems," said Rep. Bill Goodling, R-Pa., chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee.

Reaction to the plan focused on teacher-quality provisions that would make participating school districts do away with the practice of "emergency certification," through which teachers teach subjects in which they have not been certified by the state. …