AJE wants you to know that as a parent of a public school student, you have the right to know the professional qualifications of the classroom teachers who instruct your child.
Federal law allows you to ask for certain information about your child’s classroom teachers and requires that the school give you this information in a timely manner. Specifically, schools must inform you if your child is being taught by an unqualified person, even if you don’t ask about it. You also have the right to ask for the following information about each of your child’s classroom teachers:
- Whether OSSE has licensed or certified the teacher for the grades and subjects he or she teaches.
- Whether OSSE has decided that the teacher can teach in a classroom without being licensed or certified under state regulations because of special circumstances.
- Whether the teacher is teaching outside of the teacher’s certification; in other words, if their license does match what they teaching.
- Whether any teachers’ aides or similar paraprofessionals provide services to your child, and if they do, what their qualifications are.
For more information about teacher certification in DCPS look here. DCPS also has a form you can complete to obtain this information. You can find the form and where to email it (PRTK@k12.dc.gov) here. You may also find answers by contacting email@example.com.
OSSE, which stands for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, manages the licensing and credentialing of teachers in the District of Columbia. You can also view OSSE’s information about teacher licensing here. They are the agency to talk to if you have questions about the credentials of the people working with your children if the school is not responsive.
Educator credential verification requests may be submitted directly to OSSE at Osse.firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a charter parent this law still applies to you, because it is a federal law and federal laws apply fully and equally in both charter and non-charter schools. This means that charter school parents also have a right to ask about their child’s teacher’s credentials, but because OSSE does not regulate who teaches in charter schools in the same way it regulates teachers in DCPS, parents may not get the same information.
For example, charter school teachers who do not have a teacher’s license but have a bachelor’s degree would be considered not highly qualified in DCPS, and DCPS would have to inform the parents. However, in the charter school that is not true, and the charter school would NOT be required to inform the family that their student’s teacher was not certified.
You can learn more about OSSE’s understanding of the law here – ESSA Personnel Requirements – Letter from OSSE. Charter Parents can still ask their school about their child’s teacher’s qualifications, but they also might need to ask OSSE about licensure.