Did you know that North Carolina has more Nationally Board Certified Teachers than any state in the country?
Simply go to this site and compare – http://www.nbpts.org/in-your-state/.
This morning score reports for those who were seeking first time certification are being released. If you succeeded, I congratulate you. It’s not easy to become certified. Less than five percent of the nation’s teachers are NBCT’s.
When I initially sought to become nationally certified, the day of the fall score reporting was as nerve-racking a day as I could imagine. Last year, when I received my renewal scores, I had that same feeling because it is important.
But the way that the state of North Carolina looks at NBCT’s and the process they undergo to become certified has almost completely turned around.
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 my renewal cycle alone were higher than a mortgage payment.
The state also gave an increase in pay to those who became nationally certified, but they stopped that policy for those who seek graduate degrees. Unlike graduate degrees, the state apparently still views national certification as a viable display of expertise and professionalism.
And that is a bit contradictory to what many policy-makers are saying about the need to “reform.” The need for competition among schools and teachers seems to be the central mantra of reformers; however, national boards is really a testament to collaboration and community and being a part of – not being above others.
If anyone wants to see the process of what it is like to receive national certification, then simply go to http://www.nbpts.org/. It’s all there. Even if you don’t, it is safe to assume that it includes actual footage of teaching, letters of recommendation and authenticity, student samples, evidence of outreach, evidence of leadership among others.
But at one time national certification was an investment that this state made in teachers. It was an investment in teachers becoming better. NBCT’s tend to stay in the profession longer. Research shows that they affect student achievement positively. If it didn’t, then the regard in which this state still holds NBCT’s in would come under lots more scrutiny.
The argument here is many-fold.
Our state still has the most NBCT’s which correlates to a lot of people who are dedicated to teaching at a high standard and achieving greater goals DESPITE what lawmakers have said about the profession and done to disenfranchise public schools.
We should as a state reinstate the payment of entry and renewal fees for those seeking to become certified or maintaining certification. It is an investment whose ROI is very high.
And we as a state should bring back graduate degree pay bumps because most education graduate programs have a similar portfolio dynamic and process that national certification also embraces as well as more focused attention on latest research.
If Raleigh truly wants to help public education, then it would invest in the people – like it used to before we had the situation we have today that requires weak and anemic policies like SB599 or what Rowan-Salisbury School District is considering to “open up” the teacher candidate pool: lower requirements to becoming a teacher.
And don’t forget that Wake County has the highest number of NBCT’s for a district in THE NATION.
Raleigh is in Wake County.
That’s some irony.