Did you know that North Carolina has more Nationally Board Certified Teachers than any state in the country?

Simply go to this site and compare – https://www.nbpts.org/support/in-your-state/.

This past week score reports for those who were seeking/renewing certification were released. If you succeeded, I congratulate you. It’s not easy to become certified. Less than five percent of the nation’s teachers are NBCTs.

When I initially sought to become nationally certified, the day of the fall score reporting was as nerve-racking a day as I could imagine. Three years ago, when I received my renewal scores, I had that same feeling because it is important.

But the way that the state of North Carolina looks at NBCTs and the process they undergo to become certified has almost completely turned around.

When I initially began my certification process over a decade ago, the state paid my fees. The state saw it as an investment in teachers to get better at what they do. That might be the reason that so many teachers in NC underwent the process. That no longer happens. Teachers must finance their own chance to get better at their avocation. My renewal fees for my renewal cycle alone were higher than a mortgage payment.

The state also gave an increase in pay to those who became nationally certified, but they stopped that policy for those who seek graduate degrees. Unlike graduate degrees, the state apparently still views national certification as a viable display of expertise and professionalism.

And that is a bit contradictory to what many policy-makers are saying about the need to “reform.” The need for competition among schools and teachers seems to be the central mantra of reformers; however, national boards is really a testament to collaboration and community and being a part of – not being above others.

If anyone wants to see the process of what it is like to receive national certification, then simply go to http://www.nbpts.org/. It’s all there. Even if you don’t, it is safe to assume that it includes actual footage of teaching, letters of recommendation and authenticity, student samples, evidence of outreach, evidence of leadership among others.

But at one time national certification was an investment that this state made in teachers. It was an investment in teachers becoming better. NBCT’s tend to stay in the profession longer. Research shows that they affect student achievement positively. If it didn’t, then the regard in which this state still holds NBCTs in would come under lots more scrutiny.

The argument here is many-fold.

Our state still has the most NBCTs which correlates to a lot of people who are dedicated to teaching at a high standard and achieving greater goals DESPITE what lawmakers have said about the profession and done to disenfranchise public schools.

We should as a state reinstate the payment of entry and renewal fees for those seeking to become certified or maintaining certification.  It is an investment whose ROI is very high.

And we as a state should bring back graduate degree pay bumps because most education graduate programs have a similar portfolio dynamic and process that national certification also embraces as well as more focused attention on latest research.

If Raleigh truly wants to help public education, then it would invest in the people – like it used to before we had the situation we have today that requires weak and anemic policies.

And don’t forget that as of now Wake County still has the highest number of NBCTs for a district in THE NATION.

Raleigh is in Wake County.

In fact, six of the top 30 districts in the entire country as far as number of actual NBCTs serving are in NC. And it you look at that table closely, you can see that those systems are far smaller than others on that list.

That’s some irony.

And take a look at this:

Yet this state wants to “revamp” licensure and pay scales because… they can.


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Clarence Choe