Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dust in the Wind, National Boards Edition

Want to know what happens if the bonus for getting National Board Certified goes away? This is what:

Just this month the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards announced that 1,826 Florida teachers had achieved National Board Certification after a grueling process that took a year or more. They were culled from 4,000 who sought the status, with Broward County alone having 358 who made the grade.

But this year only about 400 statewide are going after certification, with those achieving it next year expected to dwindle to a handful.
That's a 90% reduction. Why?

Cost-saving measures by the state have cut the program off at the knees. Last year's $100 million budget for the program was reduced to $55 million for this school year, with some educators fearful even more cuts may come.

In previous years the state paid 90 percent of the $2,500 fee to enter the program, which trains teachers to improve instruction and then judges what they have accomplished. The state also offered an annual 10 percent pay bonus for certified teachers, plus another 10 percent -- about $4,500 -- for certified teachers who agreed to mentor other teachers.

But with the state's economy collapsing in the face of the housing bust and reduced tax revenues, the Legislature axed the money to pay the initial certification fee. Only a few teachers in high-need schools qualify this year for partial-fee payment through a federal program.
I still feel good about the National Boards bonus here in Washington going forward, based on my reading of what legislators are saying, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to see an attack on the bonus from some quarter or another.

As a local president, if my members asked if I thought the money was still going to be there if they went ahead, I'd give them a qualified yes.

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