Rethinking National Certification For Teachers

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It's a familiar question: is "national certification" worth it?  And the question's coming up more and more around the country as districts look to trim budgets and focus on the things that make the most difference to student learning (States Rethink Policies on National-Board Teachers).  Ilinois has always been big on NBCT, even though the program doesn't really measure the impact of certification on kids learning.  My sense is that the program has had great branding and does well at encouraging teachers to stay in the classroom, but it's always seemed like an expensive program for a small number of individuals -- especially if they aren't asked to do anything more than keep teaching (ie, go to a struggling school) to get the bonus.  What do you think -- mend it, end it, or come up with something entirely different? 

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  • While good, it seems that a better way to turn around schools would be to provide whole school organization praxis on targeted areas. Having all school professionals on the same page should be necessary for school improvement. That again, requires a longer instructional day, embed quality time for school professionals to collaborate. All members of a staff need time to talk about the practice and not be pulled out for the mostly droll workshops provided by CPS and CAO's. Obvious that CPS still operates in the medieval times. A fifth grader would understand that!

  • I achieved National Board certification in my 22nd year of teaching. Even compared to a Master's, I consider it the most rigorous process of my career. I firmly believe that it made me a better teacher and that even 8 years later, I still look at my teaching in the same critical form that I did for NB certification. It was also the most professionally satisfying accomplishment to pass and be celebrated both at my school and at the city-level for this. I have received many opportunities in the past 8 years because of NB certification, but have chosen to stay at my local school and in the classroom, where I feel I can do the most good.
    Is NB certification a way to reward good teachers without going the merit pay way? Do students of NB teachers perform better than those of non-NB teachers in the same schools? Is the 3K the State pays NB teachers yearly an extravagant or worthwhile expense to keep superior teachers in Illinois? Is the $1750 CPS bonus justified? I guess there's a lot that could be discussed and researched to answer these questions with firm information.

  • I agree, that Educational reform is all political Jargon, but I am concerned when one states they want to see a the government come up with a plan, and then knocks on Charter schools. This is exactly why our ed system can't change. Teachers who are dedicated and focused, seem to be brain washed into thinking that alternatives to the status quo are bad, or mostly bad with a few good out there somewhere. Charter schools are extremely beneficial to the change Public schools need. Additionally, as a teacher starting the process of NBC, the charter school model makes sense, and will allow many young and eager teachers the environment to obtain NBC, with a large amount of parent support and smaller class size.
    This post is mostly about NBC and it's effectiveness, but of course the conversation has to come back to the effectiveness of our current CPS system, and policy as a whole. But please, do not do our children of Chicago a disservice by implying that most charter schools in the district are here to gobble up land. Because the facts would say the same about CPS, and their turnaround schools. :(
    Instead, let's see how we can lower the cost of NBC so that many more teachers can obtain this level of teaching professionalism, let's lower the cost of the Master courses that teachers need to stay "Highly Qualified" (of course this is silly, but you know what I mean) and let's talk about lowering class size so that the first year teacher, whom is still bright eyed and eager can actually put some practice into place, rather than having a focus on management, and those previously mentioned master teachers can offer some support and mentoring.

  • In reply to Sarena:

    If Daley did his job and hired a real educational leader and appointed a better caliber of board members, we might be farther along than we are. Charters would not be necessary if Daley did his job. That is the point. NBC is not the silver bullet since it lacks a total school organizational leadership development that is not leveraged by CPS to this day. Ren 2010 is not the answer by a long shot.

  • Until CPS supports whole school Praxis with a larger instructional day and additional supports that make collaboration within the school day feasible, we will have the same. The present way schools are organized in terms of time and professional collaboration is so 19th century. We don't need gimmicks just a credible working environment that supports professional praxis on a school wide level. Having all staff on board on key areas that demand attention is what is needed! You would think Huberman and his PM posse would understand that a strong professional community is what is needed in each school. Throwing a hodge podge PM booklet without a real supports in terms of time and embedded collaboration time with flexibility, is setting everybody up for a fall.

  • In reply to viniciusdm:

    that is the plan, to fail, and then to dissolve the district like in new orleans. who was that again down there in orleans that did that? and who said that what happened in orleans was good? wake up!

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