The following letter to the editor by NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira appeared in the Daily Gazette (Schenectady) Sunday, February 25, 2007.
Letters to the Editor
The Daily Gazette
2345 Maxon Road Extension
P.O. Box 1090
Schenectady, NY 12301-1090
New York State United Teachers heartily agrees with Michael Alison Chandler, whose commentary - Professional credentials: More teachers seek national certification - appeared in the Sunday Gazette earlier this month: The single most important school-related factor in raising student achievement is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. The fact that the number of National Board Certified teachers nationwide has more than tripled over the past five years to more than 55,000 is highly encouraging and clearly shows the teacher quality movement is growing.
National Board Certification gives teachers a reason to stay in the profession. It strengthens and reaffirms quality teaching strategies, adds credibility to the profession, and has a positive impact on student learning. And, as the article stated, it builds confidence.
In New York state, 691 educators have achieved the credential - including 98 this year - often using their own resources to succeed. States like North Carolina, Florida and South Carolina provide stipends and other incentives to those teachers who embark on the road to certification. Unfortunately, New York lags behind in that area. Our state, as well as local school districts, needs to do more to encourage and support those teachers who commit themselves to the rigorous process of earning this prestigious credential.
Research indicates that nationally certified teachers make a measurable difference when it comes to student learning, engagement and achievement, particularly for children of color. It also shows that teachers who pursue National Board Certification show significant improvements in their teaching practices, and are likely to stay on the job longer.
The benefits of these credentials help nationally certified teachers become instructional leaders in their schools and communities. It's important to realize that they help their fellow teachers understand and promote quality teaching and learning, which is making a positive difference increasing student achievement.
New York State United Teachers