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Buffalo Puts More Highly-Qualified Teachers in Classroom

By Mark Scott

Albany, NY – Schools are putting more "highly qualified" teachers in classrooms, but perhaps not soon enough to meet a deadline and avoid losing federal aid.

In Buffalo, 2.8 percent of the core classes were taught by teachers not deemed highly qualified during the 2005-2006 school year. That number was down from 6.8 percent the previous year and was one of the best rates of improvement among the big city school districts in New York.

Board of Regents Chancellor Robert Bennett says he's not surprised that Buffalo schools improved.

"They have a very strong connection with the higher ed facilities in Western New York," Bennett said. "It's a very powerful connection. This is achieveable."

The federal No Child Left Behind act requires the every core class to be taught by a highly qualified teacher by July -- a target state Education Commissioner Richard Mills acknowledged will be difficult to meet. If schools don't meet that goal, the state could lose millions of dollars in federal school aid.