Union: Board certified teachers "among the elite"
Evidently responding to comments in last week's St. Petersburg Times, Florida Education Association President Andy Ford (left) immediately fired back at lawmakers who say national board certified teachers might have to jump through another hoop – perhaps some measure of student achievement - to prove they deserve hefty bonuses. (See the Times story here.)
"This argument exasperates me," Ford said in a press release. "The teachers who earn National Board Certification put in hundreds of hours of effort, over and above what they regularly do in their classrooms to earn this honor. Their work is judged by highly qualified examiners and it often takes teachers more than a year to earn this distinction."
Ford continued: "I always hear political leaders say they want the best teachers for the children of Florida. Well, National Board Certified Teachers are among the elite. We should be celebrating their successes and encouraging other outstanding teachers to participate instead of questioning the validity and value of a program that is seen as the gold standard of the teaching profession."
As the Times story noted, as the number of board certified teachers in Florida has grown rapidly in recent years, so too has the price tag for the bonus program - which topped $70 million last year - and so too has the scrutiny from politicians and education researchers. Next year's rocky budget forecast makes it all the more likely that the program will get a close look from lawmakers. Stay tuned.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter