Accomplished California Teachers Take to Capitol Hill
On Tuesday, July 26, 2011, a contingent of National Board Certified Teachers from California, including some members of Accomplished California Teachers (and hopefully, some future members) visited the offices of our state’s Senators and Representatives. Speaking in support of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, we sought to preserve what minimal federal spending goes towards education and supports NBPTS in particular. We noted that the research support for NBPTS is strong, especially considering the largest study of NBCTs, conducted by the National Research Council, which found unequivocally that students of National Board Certified Teachers were making greater gains on test scores. (For those who might know my aversion to reliance on standardized test scores, I would note that, first of all, I’m just passing along the findings, and secondly, that my main objections concern the misuse of test scores to evaluate teachers and punish schools. In large studies comparing thousands of students and thousands of teachers, I do see some value in test data though I would very much prefer something more robust). Furthermore, National Board Certification has proven to be an effective process for use in efforts school “turnarounds”.
We also discussed the prospects of Congress reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, which, in its current form was branded No Child Left Behind). The report from the Hill is that while a few legislative aides are holding on to hope of ESEA coming through Congress this year, most are doubtful. And if it doesn’t happen this year, it moves to an election year, which conventional wisdom says is a year where no legislation of significance would be passed.
Having put our advocacy skills to use in Washington, D.C., I’m hopeful we’re energized to make our voices heard in Sacramento as well – not just on the subject of NBPTS, but in every policy decision and debate relating to our profession.