The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act requires every classroom to be staffed by a “highly qualified” teacher. According to the law, every highly qualified teacher must have a bachelor’s degree, state certification, and different levels of mathematical content knowledge depending on the grades they teach.
30 Percent of U.S. Teachers Lack Math Knowledge
Today, far too many teachers are teaching out of their fields or with little preparation in mathematics. A 1999 study conducted by the Council of Chief State School Officers revealed that nearly 30 percent of the 300,000 middle school and high school math teachers in the United States neither majored nor minored in the subject they teach.
Low-Income Schools Need Qualified Teachers
In low-income schools, the numbers are even worse. Students have less than a 50 percent chance of having a math or science teacher who holds both a license and a degree in the subject.
Certified Teachers Are Better Teachers
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) highlights the importance of staffing schools with well-trained math teachers. Studies indicate that students taught by teachers with mathematics degrees or mathematics education degrees learn more than students taught by teachers without these qualifications.