In honor of this week’s celebration of 112,000+ National Board Certified Teachers, I will focus on what NB certification, the gold standard for the teaching profession, has meant to me.
When I first heard about the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, I was a bit doubtful that it would impact the teaching profession. I’d been around long enough to know that my salary didn’t reflect my graduate degree and experience, that I had no opportunity for advancement unless I became an administrator (heaven forbid!), and that I would work many more hours than a 9-to-5 profession. And what did novice teachers face? Exactly the same, if they actually stayed in the profession.
What could the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards offer? It has helped reshape our profession into a Profession. I couldn’t have imagined the effect of a certification process that is clearly associated with better student outcomes! And salary! And improved resources and support for novice teachers! But not shorter working hours, at least for me. That’s why my dearest teaching widower spent so many nights with me at school. Even NB certification has not fixed that glitch in my approach to preparation.
I am particularly thrilled that NBCTs have impacted the performance of minority and low-income students. Do we have miles to go before we rest? Indeed. I’ve written at length about the racially predictable test scores and low minority achievement which plagues our country. (As we go brown and gray in the US, it won’t be minority achievement anymore.) Our failure to teach ALL of our kids is dreadful. How can we encourage blacks and Hispanics to enter the teaching profession? The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards could reverse the current trend of fewer minority and male teachers with higher standards, higher salaries, and support for novice teachers. I hope I am around to see that happen!