How to become a “Qualified” Paraprofessional under ESEA

How to become a “Qualified” Paraprofessional under ESEA

Paraprofessionals—get information on ways to get certified to meet the new requirements under the so-called “No Child Left Behind” law.

VICTORY: Deadline for Paraprofessionals Extended

In a huge victory, the deadline for paraprofessionals to meet the “highly qualified” requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act has been extended from January 8, 2006, to the end of the 2005-2006 school year (June 30, 2006). The extension, long sought by NEA, was made public in a letter to Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) from Deputy Secretary of Education Raymond Simon.

As a result of the change, the timeline for paraprofessionals working in Title I schools will be the same as that of teachers. The Idaho Education Association, which has been steadfast in its outreach to Representative Simpson, and NEA lobbyist Steve Nousen were instrumental in this big win. In addition, through the NEAFT partnership, we had recently sent to all NEA and AFT state affiliates, as well as to the Council of chief State Schools Officers, a joint letter asking for state departments of education to join us in calling for this change.

We urge you to spread this good news as widely as possible, including to school districts, to ensure that our paraprofessional members are made aware of this development and of the Association’s advocacy on their behalf.

If you have any questions, please contact Steve Nousen at 202-822-7597 or

Work Keys Overview
Check out the Work Keys® Proficiency Certificate for Teacher Assistants and learn how to become “qualified” according to the new ESEA guidelines. Learn what you need to do to take the proficiency test, where you can take it and how to apply.