s an issue that is currently under some scrutiny. I hope to do a detailed essay on this subject in the near future. For now I’d like to point readers at an opinion piece by Andy Rotherham of th Progressive Policy Institute. Originanally appearing in Education Week, the entire text also appears at the PPI Website here under the title “Credit Where It’s Due.”
To summarize briefly, Rotherham accepts the research that finds that NBPTS certified teachers provide higher quality instruction than doe their non-certified peers, but criticizes the fact that such teachers are rarely find in high poverty and low performing schools. He comes down in favor of using the extra stipends received by such teachers to at least in part motivate them to move to schools more in need of improvement.
Recommend or not as you see fit.
Let me offer at least a few selections, although it is very hard to make meaningful extracts from this article, as its flows together very thoroughly.
Credit Where It’s Due
By Andrew Rotherham
Editor’s Note: This piece originally appeared in Education Week.
It’s well known that low-income and minority students are less likely to get the best teachers. What is less known is that despite emerging efforts to deal with this problem, other local, state, and national policies reinforce the inequitable status quo. Obvious culprits include various seniority provisionsin collective bargaining agreements, single-salary scales that offer little or no incentive for teachers to take challenging assignments, and archaic teacher-licensing systems.
Thinsg working against equity include the state incentives for teachers who earn NBPTS certification:
After giving some background on the development of the standardes, which includes substantial federal investment, noting the number (ove 32,000) who have achieved certification, and the cost of undergoing the processing ($2,300), Rotherham notes
He disagrees with those who criticize the effects of NBPTS certification
He focuses instead on what he considers the poor distribution of those who received such certification
He quotes researt that supports this:
He notes that part of the intent of NBPTS was to supply more highly qualified teachers to schools in the categories just listed.
Yet, despite this, states and the national board have done little to engage board-certified teachers in efforts to address the disparities. Nationwide, only three states — California, Illinois, and New York — offer robust salary incentives for board-certified teachers to work in low-performing or high-poverty schools. (In addition, the American Federation of Teachers’ Connecticut affiliate offers incentives to teachers in that state who work in hard-to-serve schools.) It’s worth noting that of the states SRI studied, California had a more equitable distribution of nationally certified teachers than any other.
He offers suggestions to address the inequitable distribution of NBPTS certified teachers:
Second, states must link these incentives to their efforts to help hard-to-staff schools meet the No Child Left Behind law’s highly-qualified-teacher mandate, or to otherwise help struggling schools improve. Ideally, states should tie bonuses and salary increases to service in high-poverty or low-performing schools. Short of this, states could make incentives conditional on service or mentoring as part of school improvement initiatives undertaken by states or districts.
He commends recent efforts in SC and GA to address the issue, but cautions
The federal government also should get into the game. Washington can partner with states and play a useful role here. During the 2004 campaign, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry proposed offering federally funded incentives to board-certified teachers who teach in high-poverty schools. It’s a good idea, and one straightforward approach to doing it would be for the federal government to match or otherwise enhance state-based incentives for board-certified teachers who work in high-poverty and struggling schools, thereby helping increase the impact of state dollars.
He urges to NBPTS itself to play more of a role, offering several strategies
Helping struggling schools means that states must use all of their resources as effectively as possible. Larger and better-targeted bonuses and pay differentials for nationally certified teachers will ultimately leveragegreater educational improvement than smaller and more diffuse incentives divorced from broader state and national school improvement efforts.
Considering the magnitude of today’s teacher-quality challenge, policymakers cannot afford to leave this impressive cadre of teachers behind.
As one who has just completed his initial submissions (and I hope this will be the only submission needed) for NBPTS certification, who does NOT teach in a high poverty or low performing school, and who will received a $5,000/year differential when I am successfully certified, I found this article pertinent, even though I believe that there should be some differential for those of us who do not teach in high impact schools. After all, if the assertion is that all students are entitled to better teaching quality, incentives should be applied boradly, even if more should be offered more challengeing students. My school is substantially minority (more than 55% African-American for starters), we have a fair share of students who have not previously had the kind of instruction we can and do provide. But I also acknowledge that the issue of equity raised by Rotherham has validity as well.
If you want to know a bit more about Rotherham, here’s what the website from which I extracted the article has to say: