State Department Delivers Fatal Blow to Teacher Incentive Program
A brutal 10 percent cut to the common education budget proved fatal for the prestigious National Board Certified Teacher program. State Supt. Janet Barresi decided not to fund the NBCT program in the 2011-2012 budget released today.
NBCT is a teacher incentive program that awards teachers $5,000 who successfully complete a three year process meeting high standards through intensive study, expert evaluation, self-assessment and peer review.
"The legislature has failed to keep its promise to nearly 3,000 teachers who have worked hard to excel at their profession and improve student achievement," said Linda Hampton, Oklahoma Education Association President.
Hampton said teachers are under intense scrutiny and pressure to perform, yet incentive programs and professional development opportunities that support best practices and professional growth were not funded.
"If we want better schools, the last thing we should do is take away programs that help and encourage teachers to become better. NBCT is the only incentive program we have for teachers in Oklahoma. Lawmakers and state education leaders tout teacher incentives, but it is clear they're just giving lip service to a popular idea," Hampton said.
Barresi called on school districts to fund the program. She suggested districts use the $33 million allocated for textbooks. The state requirement for textbooks was deregulated last year.
"Schools shouldn't be forced to choose between classroom essentials and keeping a promise to 3,000 teachers," Hampton said.
The NBCT program has made a significant impact in Oklahoma. Oklahoma ranks 9th in the nation for the percentage of NBCTs. As a result of this achievement, Oklahoma also ranks in the top ten nationwide for teacher quality and high standards, according to Education Week's Quality Counts report.
Research, including the 2008 Congressionally-mandated National Research Council report, shows that students taught by NBCTs make higher gains on achievement tests than students taught by non-NBCTs.
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