What Does Washington State Get for Its Investment in Bonuses for Board Certified Teachers?
In 2007, the state of Washington passed legislation offering $5,000 bonuses to its national board-certified teachers (NBCT). To sweeten the pot and address the “teacher quality gap,” the NBCTs would get another $5,000 per year if they taught at a “challenging school,” or one with a concentration of low-income students (70 percent at the elementary-level down to 50 percent at the high-school level). In December 2010, Gov. Christine Gregoire proposed suspending the program due to budget cuts. This latest Rapid Response paper from the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) assesses how well the program has met its two main goals: to improve teacher quality through board certification and to attract stronger teachers to disadvantaged schools. The upshot: The program probably isn’t worth the hefty price tag. (Program costs have tripled since its inception. Over the next two years, it is slated to cost Washington a cool $100 million). First, CRPE notes that past research shows no causal relationship between national-board certification and quality teaching. That is, gaining national-board certification does not improve a teacher’s efficacy. Second, CRPE examines state data and concludes that, even with the $5,000 bonus, less than 1 percent of NBCTs in the Evergreen State moved from low- to high-poverty schools. During these austere times, a hard rethink of ineffective programs would be wise across the other forty-nine states, too.
Jim Simpkins, “What Does Washington State Get for Its Investment in Board Certified Teachers?,” (Seattle, WA: Center for Reinventing Public Education, March 2011).
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