Despite the General Assembly, North Carolina Teachers Still Set A “Gold Standard” – First in Nation in NBCT’s

If anyone ever needed to see the dedication that North Carolina’s public school teachers have to their students and their craft, then consider how these two statistics:

  1. North Carolina’s Number of Nationally Certified Teachers
  2. North Carolina’s Rank for Best & Worst States for Teachers

For the first statistic, North Carolina ranks #1 in the nation.

From the News & Observer’s T. Keung Hui just today:

North Carolina and the Wake County school system continue to both lead the nation with the most teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, according to new results released Monday.

The state now has nearly 21,500 National Board-certified teachers, accounting for 18 percent of the country’s total. Statewide, 21.6 percent of public school teachers have this certification, which is considered the “gold standard” in the teaching profession.

Wake County is the top district in the nation, with 2,631 National Board-certified teachers. Wake has led the nation for 12 consecutive years (http://amp.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article193611659.html?__twitter_impression=true).

For the second statistic, North Carolina ranks as the seventh WORST state for teachers.

Again from T. Keung Hui from back in September of 2016:

North Carolina was 45th on WalletHub’s ranking of 2017 Best and Worst States for Teachers, finishing as the seventh-worst state on a list that included all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The personal finance website developed its rankings based on 21 metrics, ranging from teachers’ income growth potential to pupil-teacher ratio to teacher safety (http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article175276116.html).

So in a state that does not consider teachers as the “gold standard” of public education, North Carolina teachers still have nearly one-fifth of the nation’s NBCT’s. Even Mark Johnson, a man who “trained” to be a teacher and “taught” in public schools for less time than it takes to just become qualified to actually start the process of national certification talked glowingly about national certification.

NBCT

In Hui’s report today Johnson said,

“Our state’s students are the winners when their teachers invest the time and effort to meet the demanding standards of national certification. The certification process helps teachers strengthen their practice to be highly effective educators in their classrooms and able instructional leaders in their schools.”

Yes, it is not lost on this National Board Certified Teacher that there is a twelve percent pay raise for achieving national certification in North Carolina. Many may say that teachers obtain national certification to get more money.

But most NBCT’s will tell you that getting national certification was a way to get better at what they do even in a state that does not treat them very well.

Consider the average pay for teachers in North Carolina is much lower than the national average even with “historic raises” that the GOP claims to have made. The “pay bump” that comes with national certification for all of those NBCT’s in NC is included in that statistic. Imagine how much more pathetic that average teacher salary in North Carolina would be if there was not a pay increase for NBCT’s.

This also furthers the argument that graduate degree pay bumps should be reinstated in North Carolina by the same GOP stalwarts who took them away in the first place.  Not many of those who agree with eliminating graduate degree pay increases argue against that veracity of National Board Certification. North Carolina still leads the nation in NBCT’s (National Board Certified Teachers). National certification is defined by a portfolio process which many schools of education emulate in their graduate programs.

Additionally, teachers now must finance their own certification process. When I initially began my certification process a decade ago, the state paid my fees. The state saw it as an investment in teachers to get better at what they do. That might be the reason that so many teachers in NC underwent the process. That no longer happens. Teachers must finance their own chance to get better at their avocation. My renewal fees for this cycle alone were higher than a mortgage payment.

Imagine what first time certification seekers had to pay on their own. It’s much higher. Much.

And yet North Carolina still leads the nation in the number NBCT’s even after all that has been enacted by Mark Johnson’s cronies in the last six years like:

  1. Removal of due-process rights for new teachers
  2. Graduate Degree Pay Bumps Removed
  3. Standard 6
  4. Push for Merit
  5. Health Insurance and Benefits cuts
  6. Attacks on Teacher Advocacy Groups (NCAE)
  7. Revolving Door of Standardized Tests
  8. Less Money Spent per Pupil than Before Great Recession When Adjusted for Inflation
  9. Removal of Caps on Class Sizes
  10. Sacrificing of Specialties in Elementary Schools
  11. Jeb Bush School Grading System
  12. Cutting Teacher Assistants
  13. Opportunity Grants
  14. Unregulated Charter School Growth
  15. Virtual School Failures
  16. Innovative School Districts
  17. Elimination of Teaching Fellows Program

First in the nation in the number of National Certified teachers in a state that has a “teacher shortage” and the “need” for SB599.

What these diabolically opposing statistics really show (1st in NBCT’s and 45th in Best States for Teachers) is that in a state where the state government has gone out of its way to weaken public schools, teachers remain steadfast in raising students outcomes.

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