Sunday, July 20, 2008

Support to the National Board is dwindling in DCPS

I just received a message from a very reliable source that the financial and technical support to DCPS teachers who wish to seek National Board Certification is dwindling. Here's part of the message:

Per the last WTU contract, for the first time our union recognized the value of developing a cadre of National Board Certified Teachers by inserting supporting language in our contract and negotiating a $4000 incentive bonus for teachers to encourage more of our members to become National Board Certified. The WTU along with the World Bank, DCEC, DCPS provided financial and technical support to NBCT Candidates. Unfortunately, the World Bank, DCEC, and DCPS are no longer providing funding support for new NBCT candidates.


...the chancellor has expressed the belief that the low number of teachers successfully completing the program in the past isn’t worth DCPS’ continued investment.

Why is there a low number of NBCTs in DCPS? This is happening not just in DCPS, this is a fact in most high-needs schools across the nation. The recent report shows that (and I can personally attest to this):

High-needs schools tend to have much more rigid requirements for curriculum instruction. There is considerably less trust among administrators in teachers' abilities to positively impact student learning. As a result, there is less opportunityfor teaches to demonstrate that they can tailor instruction to student needs -- they are not even allowed to do so. It is typical to see scripted curricula and/or rigid, closely monitored pacing guides. All these reduce the amount of time and effort that can be committed to National Board Certification.

But these conditions in high needs schools that discourage the teachers to seek or to complete the National Board process are typical across the country. Would it really be to the advantage of DCPS if the funding for the National Board Certification is cut? The report further relates that...
The National Board Certification process should be viewed through the lens of increasing human capital, not strictly from the perspective of short-term costs and benefits. Smart state and local policies will support candidates as they go through the process and then capitalize on the leadership and skills of those who successfully complete it. Once this dynamic environment is created and sustained, we are confident that teaching quality will improve.
This is my 2nd year as a candidate, and though I have not certified yet, The National Board Certification process has made me a better educator, collaborator, and teacher leader (very far from the kind of teacher I was almost five years ago). The process makes me evaluate myself based from the national teaching standards, reflect on my teaching practices and strive hard to improve my teaching each time. I don't mind repeating the National Board every year because it teaches me, reminds me and asks me to demonstrate what is expected of an accomplished teacher. I make sure that I live up to those qualities of an effective special education teacher, which is not very easy. This is not something most novice teachers can do but surely can benefit from for our professional growth. Every time I make all the effort to become a better educator, I produce better and engaged students.

I fervently believe that our DCPS education policymakers would be smart enough to consider the recommendations or at least read, understand and absorb, the recent report on "Measuring What Matters" by the real education experts, the experienced and accomplished classroom teachers... theyhave a lot to say on revolutionizing the American education. They are the kind of high quality effective teachers we need in DCPS.

Hear me...hear me...I humbly request.

*** UPDATE on Support for National Board in DCPS

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