Valerie Strauss of The Washington Post asks a seemingly obvious question:  Should a teacher with only five weeks of training be considered “highly qualified”? The answer is obviously no..

But the question pertains to Teach for America, which has lobbied Congress to make sure that its neophytes are somehow treated as “highly qualified” under the No Child Left Behind act. The federal appeals court in California has twice said that TFA teachers are not highly qualified, and that they should not be concentrated in districts of high poverty and high disadvantage, where children actually need “highly qualified” teachers, not young college graduates with five weeks to training.

Congress is debating the issue, and TFA is exerting its muscle and lobbyists and war chest to make sure that its fresh-faced recruits are dubbed “highly qualified” by any new version of the law. As Strauss says, “Let’s see just how powerful Teach for America is with Congress.”