Public Knows Teacher Quality Matters

The recent PDK/Gallup poll includes some significant findings that reveal how the public views teachers.

More than 80% of those surveyed believe…

The recent PDK/Gallup poll included some especially significant findings that reveal how the public views teachers:

More than 80% of those surveyed believe that teachers should be Board certified – beyond their state-issued license – similar to doctors and other professions.  In addition, more than 70% believe that teachers should spend at least one year practicing under the supervision of a Board certified teacher.

Clearly, that’s a call for better prepared teachers. I would venture that most people in this country do not know there is a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) that for 25 years has been identifying and certifying highly accomplished classroom teachers and other educators. Although this is a voluntary, time consuming, and relatively expensive process, over 100,000 public and private school teachers nationwide have achieved this gold standard.

Many states and the federal government used to provide support for teachers who wanted to attempt Board Certification, incredibly, much of that has been removed over recent years. Yet, thousands of teachers continue to pursue National Board Certification. Many do not certify on their first attempt, but the vast majority who complete the process—whether they certify or not—agree that the Certification process itself is the best professional development they’ve ever had.

NBPTS President Ronald Thorpe has also called for the nation to consider requiring new teachers to do a well-designed residency, similar to what medical school graduates must do before being allowed to practice independently. In many places, persons meet the individual state requirements for a basic teaching license with as little as a few weeks of summer training or six weeks of student teaching.

We have increasing proof that teachers who are National Board Certified (NBCTs) make significant and measurable differences in the quality of children’s education. However, the present number of NBCTs is just a fraction of the nation’s total teaching force. Currently, NBPTS is field testing an updated version of its rigorous certification process that would make it possible for more teachers to pursue National Board Certification in the coming years. Increasing the percentage of teachers who are National Board Certified will dramatically improve both the quality of children’s education and the professional status of teachers.

Cross-posted at National Journal.com / Education Insiders

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