The US Department of Education announced last week that they would extend the deadline for paraprofessionals to become highly qualified under NCLB. The previous deadline fell in the middle of next school year--half a year before the deadline that teachers face. Paraprofessionals will now share the same deadline as their more credentialed compatriots in the classroom: end-of-school-year 2006. Given that plenty of people working at the mall make more than most teacher aides, the move seems sensible.
According to NCLB, paraprofessionals working in a program supported with Title I funds must have-- - Completed two years of study at an institution of higher education or obtained at least an associate's degree; or - Passed a test demonstrating knowledge of and the ability to assist in instructing, reading, writing, and mathematics.