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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Board certified teachers ARE better, new study says



Talk about timing.

A day after Gov. Charlie Crist signed a bill that likely will undermine Florida's efforts to produce more National Board certified teachers, a new, congressionally mandated study by the National Research Council concludes such teachers do squeeze bigger learning gains out of their students – even if it's not clear if it's the certification process that makes them better.

For the study, NRC researchers took a look at some national board certified teachers in Florida and North Carolina and how their fourth and fifth graders did on their state's standardized tests (yes, that would be the FCAT in Florida). The result?

"Earning NBPTS certification is a useful 'signal' that a teacher is effective in the classroom," Milton Hakel, a Bowling Green State University professor and chair of the NRC committee that wrote the report, said in a press release this morning. "But we don't know whether the certification process itself makes teachers more effective … or if high-quality teachers are attracted to the certification process."

In the end, the NRC recommended more study.

Florida has 8,136 board certified teachers, second only to North Carolina, with nearly 1,700 coming on board last year. At present, those teachers get bonuses worth 10 percent of an average teacher’s salary ($4,270 last year), plus another 10 percent if they mentor other teachers. For teachers seeking certification, the state chips in 90 percent of the $2,500 application fee.

The new law limits the first 10 percent bonus to 10 years, and eliminate state funding for the mentoring bonus. It also nixes the state subsidy on the application fee.

- Ron Matus, state education reporter

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:46am]


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