By Beth Hillyer
HONOLULU (KHNL)--The Hawaii State Teacher's Association took a stand against letters sent out by the State Department of Education stating they are not highly qualified.
HSTA is running ads featuring a long time teacher discouraged by a letter sent to her and thousands of other local teachers demanding they prove their teaching credentials.
Louise Cayetano is the kind of teacher who stays after school in support of a school fundraiser. As she bags manapua, she's steamed about being labeled not highly qualified.
"It was just appalling to find out that after so many years, I have 19 years teaching experience for me I was very upset. Inside I was feeling a lot of turmoil like only now you tell us we are not highly qualified," declares Louise Cayetano.
She's featured in the HSTA ad. With 19 years experience, she was heartbroken when informed she wasn't highly qualified.
"To go through this tug of war with your heart and them thinking why didn't they question before after so many years many of them have 35 years teaching experience. "
The letters from State Department of Education were required under the federal law "No Child Left Behind".
The union wants you to talk with your congressional representatives.
Congressman Neil Abercrombie issued this statement: "No child left behind is one of the greatest empty promises of the Bush legacy. It typifies a 'cookie-cutter' approach to improving public education that fails to consider the diversity of challenges in Hawaii's classrooms."
Teachers are meeting with Department of Education officials to present their paperwork required to be considered highly qualified.
More than 60 percent of the teachers who received the letters have gone through one-on-one reviews and have been deemed highly qualified.