New York State Certification, Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA)
February 20, 2008

Teacher Aides and Teaching Assistants

Source: Updates and replaces 990025, 979812 and 200301 and 200312

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The new federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, has generated a great deal of confusion and misinformation regarding the qualifications of paraprofessionals.

Through intense discussions with the State Education Department, NYSUT was able to get new interpretations regarding how paraprofessionals in New York would qualify under NCLB. The key points are:

  • The State Education Department now clearly states that an individual's job title, which is established by an employer, is not relevant for determining whether an individual must meet either the state's or the NCLB's requirements. If an individual's job duties include providing instructional support, the individual is serving as a "teacher assistant" (or in a comparable position in New York City) and must be certified (or meet applicable New York City requirements). If an individual's job duties include providing instructional support and the individual is "working in a program supported with Title I funds," the individual is a Title I paraprofessional and must meet both state (or New York City) and NCLB requirements.
  • NYSUT pushed hard to insure that teaching assistants already in the system got credit for their hard work and experience. The State Education Department has determined that, "under New York State policy, teaching assistants who are state certified and have achieved tenure in a review conducted in accordance with appropriate Education Laws have met the NCLB's criteria for the assessment option." No additional tests or courses are required. In New York City paraprofessionals will be qualified under NCLB through an individual evaluation.
  • Finally, the State Education Department has determined that the new state test for teaching assistants, the Assessment of Teaching Assistant Skills test, will satisfy the requirements of state certification beginning in September 2004 and will qualify appropriate individuals under NCLB.

This Information Bulletin contains the following attachments:

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This fact sheet reflects the lastest available information and may be subject to change.