I typically do not post on other posts. However, a post from Education Week caught my attention and shares a great deal of what I hope for Washington when I think of its future as an education state.
The AFT (American Federation of Teachers) has an ambitious plan and I can get behind much of it.
I found myself nodding my head to was the call for rigorous, and consistent standards in teacher training programs. It is good for students and Washington because everyone gets a stronger teacher. It is also good for the teaching profession because it raises the quality of teachers which will raise the respect the profession gets.
Another salient point is that this proposed rigorous program is not more hoops. Nor is it just more time to do the same old thing. What it is, is better goals and better use of time.
When people ask me what teacher National Board certification is, I give the comparison to the board exams of doctor and lawyer programs. For teachers it is National BOARD of Professional Teaching Standards. I value the NB purpose and practice so who better than NBPTS to "develop a rigorous exam measuring content, pedagogy, and practice" (Sawchuk) which is much of what NBPTS does already.
A stronger teacher program will reduce the deer-in-the-headlights feelings of first year teachers and increase teacher retention. Again, this is good for students and Washington, and good for the teaching profession.
Whether unions, citizens, and teachers will support a required, rigorous, continued board process is only known by the future, and it will lead to a tough situation of balancing Want with Will. What does Washington Want, and Will Washington pay for it? Pay for it with support, time, money, and respect?
Washington won't attract the strongest teachers if the process of board certification does not have a pay-out that is commensurate with the certification. At some point, even the most giving teacher won't find the intrinsic rewards of teaching to be enough.
Raise the standards of teaching and raise the profession of education. Everyone is for higher standards. Everyone is for stronger education in Washington. But this has a cost. Our students are worth that cost.
Regardless of your views of the ATF, look at the larger idea and consider how you can help improve the teaching profession. I want to hear your take on this proposal. What do you think?
Here is the full post by Stephen Sawchuk, in Teacher Beat through Ed Week Blog.